Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Slice of Life Tuesday: Choosing to Go Up

Note: I'm linking up with the Two Writing Teachers Blog for Slice of Life Tuesday for my post today!

Generally speaking, I hate absolutes. But every now and then, I find myself neatly quantified by simple if/then statements.

If there is a display of annoying singing reindeer at the store, then I will turn on every single one.

If there is crème brûlée on the dessert menu, then I will order it.

If there is the right kind of tree, then I will climb it.

The right kind of tree, in case you were wondering, is one that begs to be climbed. One that only requires a look to imagine the choreography of your ascent--the repeating pattern of placed feet, grasped branches, awakened muscles, upward motion.

This past Sunday, while hiking, I saw the right kind of tree. A muscular arm of a trunk jutted out where the blanket of dead leaves gave way suddenly to the loamy banks of a river. Just a simple journey up the nearly-horizontal base to the crooked elbow, where I sat.

Bird's-eye view.

The noise from the ground disappeared. The voices of hikers calling ahead to their friends faded. The whir of bicycle wheels dodging the gnarled roots of the trail melted away. The cheers ribboning up the hill from the cross country meet below evaporated. I floated above it all.

And then.

A new perspective.

Dappled birch branches shedding their bark beneath me. Eyes squinting against the kind of October sun that is hellbent on making me appreciate its strength, reminding me that the watery light of January isn’t too far off. The sky the sort of blue that makes me skeptical because it seems manufactured. Water wrinkled by the wind. Me, aloft.

And I breathed it in. I wanted to hold my arms out and gather up the Missouri horizon as I saw it from up there. Every dying weed, every dry gulp of air, every leaf that never had the chance to change before falling.

Every feeling. I wanted to hold that moment, imprint it on myself for the days when I am grounded.

If given the opportunity, then I will choose to go up.


  1. The literal right kind of tree. Now I'm wondering about the figurative ones. Thanks!

  2. I want to believe that, tree or not, *most* people would choose to go up. Love how everything else disappears but the tree, the sky, the air.

  3. Love that you grasped this moment and went "up!"

  4. Insightful contrast between absolutes and exceptions, plus much lyrical writing about the moment in the tree. Thanks for sharing, Katie.