Stuck Up A Tree
I have often used the phrase “stuck in a tree” in response to the casual, “What’re you up to?” question. As I am a practicing tree climber with a busy schedule, it is probably the response that most who know me would expect. But those who know me also know that I am more happy to be “stuck” in a tree than in a lot of other places. Up there the air seems fresher, the view is better, and everything just seems to happen with more purpose and clarity than at the pedestrian level. So I suppose it would give the many teachers, counselors, professors, and friends who witnessed my erratic career path some comfort to know that I am finally happy up in my tree.
In my time working in trees I have encountered some things “stuck in a tree” that are not nearly as at home as I. In my free time I have rescued plenty of children’s objects that find their way into the canopies of trees: footballs, kites, dolls (victims of older brother’s sling shot), etc.
But lately even my work day has included tree rescues. Recently Pro Arbor responded to a distress call from a dismayed woman who’s cat had spent three days in a pine tree after being chased by a dog. The cat’s superior dexterity and speed had allowed his escape as he was able to claw his way 40 feet up the branchless trunk of a Virginia Pine and perch on one of the few branches at the top.
Unfortunately for him, he could not figure out how to descend the trunk when his canine pursuer lost interest and went home for dinner. So up I went to retrieve him. The rescue involved getting the nervous and untrusting kitty to back himself into a crotch in a branch and hang on while I cut and lowered his portion of the branch to his owners below.
Just today I rescued a radio-controlled airplane from the top of a 60 foot Ash tree. It seems that a reenactment of the Top Gun “buzzing the tower” scene ended in an embarassing crash.
Though it’s not what a tree climber expects to be doing when reporting to work in the morning, these kinds of rescues provide a welcome new workday experience. And, of course, it’s nice to be able to add a little sauce to the cliche “stuck in a tree.”