It is not uncommon for boys to climb trees on a Sunday afternoon. It is usually little boys that frolic among the branches, tempting gravity in creative ways. This Sunday it was a father and his 17 year old, 6 foot plus son. While their knowledge of equipment gave them advantages in gaining height, their wisdom was also applied so as to decrease risk.
As the wife and mother of said man and his son, I was much comforted by several things. First of all, they had both taken climbing lessons a couple of years ago. The original plan was to continue work on a tree house, the frame of which waited high in a gargantuan old willow tree. They had even practiced in the willow tree after their lessons. Secondly, they reviewed the subject the morning of the event. Thirdly, lots of sturdy rope was being employed. Knots were reviewed and double checked. And lastly, my husband, Greg, expressed apprehension at going up so high, which meant he was thinking about being very careful.
There were a few large dead branches in our aged sycamore tree that needed to be cut out, deemed a safety hazard in the next big storm. It seems to be slowly dying from an unknown malady. Up the climbers went. Greg, being older and wiser, used a ladder for the first few feet. Our son, Jesse, spurned the ladder, showing off his youthful energy and technique from the ground.
After Greg reached the upper limits, I was drafted into role of safety monitor and “evaluator of which direction the branches were likely to fall.” Most of these limbs were thick, over 20 feet long, and had an abundance of other smaller branches still attached. They could easily split a skull or break a leg.
Carlie was assigned to firmly secure the chainsaw to a rope that Jesse hung down for that purpose. She followed directions well and the saw was maneuvered up to Greg.
My long handled pruning saw was also hoisted up to enable him to safely cut branches out of arm’s length. Then the debris began to fall.
The girls soaked up the fall sunshine.
And it was humorous to see a helicopter fly by so closely that it seemed to be checking up on them.
After approximately 3 hours in the tree tops, they came down to join the ground dwellers. They surveyed the results. A couple of branches the size of medium trees had not fallen completely out of the tree, so they forced them down.
The sycamore looks better now, but we are not sure how long it will last. A face lift is, after all, only a superficial treatment. The family memories, however, will be unforgettable.