Climbing In The Trees Dec 27, 2016 • By daniel miltz • Gone are the days when scraped knees and grazed elbows, were practically a badge of honor for an adventurous kid, like me. For my age back then, it did not take me a long time-- learning to crawl, climb and walk. Nowadays, over-protective parents are creating a generation of 'Y kids' by actively encouraging children to watch the boob-tube, play indoors and become nerds. My days were spent playing, largely free, from constraints and expectations. ''Play is at its purest and most uninhibited, when it is unstructured, and spontaneous.'' I roamed free in the purest sense, and would glorify that as the ideal. My backyard and those of my surrounding neighbors, were wild enough for me: climbing fences and sheds while 'raiding' the gardens in my surrounding neighbor's yards was risky enough to satisfy my taste for adventure. I started many a day with Tarzan morning ape-like behavior, climbing trees and swinging from branches. Spiralling a tree with ample, low-hanging branches is one thing, ascending a tree without hardly any branches is quite another venture.. When zigzagging a branchless tree, I used to wrap my arms around the tree and place the soles of my feet on each side of the tree, with my legs bowed outward. Then, I would walk or hop my feet upward. I would use the limbs and branches of trees like the parallel or uneven bars you see in gymnastics. I would swing my body back and forth to build momentum so to hurtle my body through space and to the next limb. ''Anything goes. Grapple, grope, claw and haul your way up. No true tree swerver gives a damn about their dignity. It's all about conquering the bole, the stretch of trunk that leads up to the crown, where the first branch opens out. I had this giant willow tree out in my road and it towered right over the highest roofs, where you can watch the sunset, and see everything. I loved hiding up above in the trees while people passed by below. It is amazing the things you hear and observe high in the tree when people standing rock-bottom, don't know anyone is listening. ''A life without compassing trees is like not having any air to breathe. It really helps you get away from everything and appreciate your natural surroundings.'' Many nights in the summer, when the trees were in full bloom-- I would find something mischievous or fun to do in the trees. All I know is that the trees were a good hiding spot, when I was running from the cops and playing 'hide and seek.' Also, when I was shooting my BB gun and sling shot at kids hanging around the area; they would get hit with flying projectiles, freak out, and wonder-- 'what the hell is going on?' ''For me, trees have always been the most penetrating sky scout. Trees are ivory towers. They stand alone, and are like forlorn creatures.'' Exploring above was about the only place, a kid like myself, could find solitude in those days — up a tree! Along the way, I have been chased by dogs — and been met by maniacal squirrels scuttling out of trees, bombarding me with nut shells, when I was about take refuge. Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and are restful. They are wiser and have longer lives than ours. ''Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree.''