I’ve gone on a few times about how much I love nature, but even though I grew up in one of the most beautiful areas in England, I didn’t really appreciate it until I moved away. I loved summer’s at the lake or making treasure trails in the forest, but I thought that’s how everybody’s childhood went. It wasn’t until moving away that I realised how precious those moments were, and how I longed for them again.
I played a lot in woods with my cousins as a child: swinging from a rope and tire tied to a tree branch, endless games of hide and seek, and just general running about through the trees was a huge part of growing up. One thing I don’t remember doing however, was climbing a tree. I wasn’t a particularly nervous child, but after having a pretty bad biking accident I had become wary of anything with a whiff of danger.
Fast-forward a couple of decades and I have plenty of fear, but I’m learning to not let it stop me from experiencing things.
We visited some friends to enjoy our first barbecue of the year (we sadly don’t have a garden) and had a great time catching up with them and their eight-year-old. After eating we all went for a walk through the nearby countryside, when the little girl dashed with a giggle into a small woody area. It turns out, here was her favourite climbing tree.
The great thing about our friend’s daughter is that she’s fearless. She bounded up and down that tree like she was born to do it. The other great thing about her (there are many – she’s really cool) is that she’s not shy about taunting her parent’s friends. James was already up the tree at her insistence, but it was now my turn, and although here is where I would usually laugh and start walking away, I jumped at the chance to climb up it.
Luckily the tree had lots of big branches to step between, and after some initial hesitation, I soon made it quite far up. It felt great to move and balance my body to climb up so high, and I’d have happily gone up even further but there were a few worried looking faces down below. I decided it was probably best not to risk it on my first time and started the long descent. This is where I felt the fear.
I’m not scared of heights, but that natural instinct to panic when you’re up so high without a clear path down definitely kicked in. I was definitely frozen with indecision for a few minutes before I got myself together, and painlessly made my way back down.
Climbing the tree was such a rush, I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to do it. I really loved it, it took me back to being a kid again. I had a different new thing planned for today, but how could I resist such a golden opportunity to challenge myself! I love it when my adventurous side comes out to play, and as I continue the challenge (and actually do some new things outside of my house) I get to see that side more and more.