I briefly discussed my childhood relationship with tree-climbing in another piece for Floom, which got me thinking more broadly about the act of shimmying up nature’s own climbing frames: leafy, vertical assault courses that have inexorably drawn children (and some adults) to their peaks. But why? As I wrote:
“My sister is an amazing tree-climber (well she was when we were kids anyway, I’m not sure how often she manages to exercise her skills in recent times - branch-hopping like a little Yorkshire Mowgli probably took a back seat to the PHD in Biomedical Engineering she just spent about five years completing). I wasn’t too shabby - I could scoot up the trunks well enough, it was just once I’d reached the highest point I would glance down and inevitably Lose My Shit. Luckily the skinny younger sister that I would ignore in the school playground was on hand to shimmy up after me and guide me down each time.''
Why do I remember this aspect of our relationship so vividly? I probably couldn’t tell you who was the more accomplished rider of bikes, or finger painter at that age, yet there’s something about climbing trees that imprints itself upon one’s identity in those fledgling years.