During my youth kids were required to pass through a tree climbing phase as part of the transition from being a kid to becoming a teenager. Not just any old tree would do of course. The majestic oak was always a tower of strength but the limbs were too high up for it to be a good climbing tree. Likewise, the tall pecan trees that grew in our yard would have required a chain of ladders just to make it to the first limb.
Back toward the center of our property, however, grew a very beautiful Sweet Bay Magnolia (Magnolia Virginiana) tree. The leaves were bright green with an almost wax appearance in the sunshine. Inside the green foliage, it was very easy to climb right to the center trunk where plentiful low hanging limbs were perfect for any size kid. It was so much fun to make the criss-cross climb across the various tree branches winding my way up as close as possible to the top. Inside the dense foliage, cool air rustling the leaves was the only sound heard on a summer’s midday. The beautiful, fragrant magnolia flower blooms were always a special treat in March and April. Only a kid knew that the best views of the flowers were from an inside tree limb looking outward towards the sun.
Of course for total climbing pleasure this kid of leisure would usually choose the fig tree. With its very low entry point from the ground, right away you’re sitting half- way up in the middle of the tree. Our fig tree limbs formed a natural cradle allowing me to lay back with arms outstretched and relax just as well as any hammock. When the figs were in season it was a real treat just to reach out and grab a handful to snack on. Fairly often it became necessary to share the fig tree with passing birds because in choosing between fear of humans and the taste of ripe figs they always managed to be courageous.
Parents if you have the space to grow trees make sure your kids get to enjoy the wonderful pleasures of tree climbing. It will bless them with lifelong memories.
In addition to being a passionate gardener Jason Canon has authored numerous technical research papers including: photonic switching, gigabit networking, VoIP/E9- 1-1, and others.