I am not old. At least so I told myself until recently and probably everyone older than me would agree. However I would like to share with you the first time I felt old:
When I was a child, I had the most amazing climbing tree in the park close to our home. It was the kind of Ash that must have inspired the old Germanic tribes to thy myth of the world Tree Yggdrasil. It is a huge tree and whenever I sat in it as a child I felt surrounded by an enormous womb of green, bathed in sunlight that shone through the translucent foliage. There I felt like I was one with the world, alone yet never lonely. Many years later I found myself longing for that feeling, but as an adult I was not nearly as athletic as I had been in childhood. However, one day there I was – running in the same park, forgetting for a moment that I was all grown up. The longing to get back what I once had had become overwhelming. I decided to climb the tree.
I left the path and walked through the bushes while several people looked curiously and probably assumed I was about to drop my pants and pee. There I was – standing in front of the tree. Suddenly it looked a lot more dangerous than I remembered and also a lot more difficult to climb. When I found the first hold for my hands a picture of bird droppings and big hairy spiders popped up in my head. It’s not that I am scared of spiders (where I live there are no poisonous ones), I am just extremely disgusted by them. The effect is the same though: Whenever a spider shows up I jump, scream and back off. While screaming is probably ok whilst climbing a tree, neither jumping nor backing away seem to be a very good idea. Then I remembered that never during all my years of tree climbing have I ever encountered either bird droppings or any kind of spider. So I got my feet on their first holds. I really did not remember it being this hard to hold up my entire body weight! With all my strength I managed to get a little bit higher (I was about 4 feet up).
The good branch was still some work away. I saw myself sitting on the branch unable to get down, having to call 911 to help me like a deranged supersized cat. In that second I fell. After limping back home and assessing the gigantic bruise I promise to myself to practice before trying this again. On a much easier tree.