Regardless of where I lived at the time, be it Athens Greece, or Long Island, memories of youth are invariably pulled toward a common theme, climbing a favorite tree. What was the attraction? Why take a risk with no apparent goal other than to perhaps reach one limb of questionable strength higher? It was simple. By raising my head above the day’s routine, I could catch a glimpse of the mysterious outer world of possibility.
In New York, I had to climb to where the leaves thinned to view the surrounding community where it ended in the sea. Tree climbs while living in Athens inspired wild imaginations of times past and present. But oddly, climbing trees produced the same unsettling emotion regardless of locale – the uneasy feeling that I was at the edge of great discovery, bonded to the shadow fear that I would miss out, that I would somehow be left behind.
This deep-seated panic of being excluded from life’s adventure—of being a bystander—still resides within me, fresh yet primal, visceral sensations unchanged from that little boy’s as he raised his eyes above that final, highest branch half a century ago. In an impermanent world, I’m damn thankful for this part of me that remains unchanged, pushing me forward to try something new despite my fear, even as forward inevitably bends to scribe the giant arc of a circle.