We spy a glorious climbing tree at the park, and I set my children loose. I remember my 7 year-old self running free through the neighborhood and finding a tree like this.
I climbed to the very top and peered out over the city. The wind whipped me. The tree swayed. The branches snapped and barely held me up.
I knew real danger then. We all did. Life was different.
I rode my bike alone (without a helmet, with no hands) all over town.
I jumped across the creek to try to land on the opposite bank. I balanced on fallen logs over deep waters. I fell out of trees so that my mother–nearly fainting from the blood–took me to the emergency room to remove part of a branch from my arm. I still have the scar.
My children don’t have scars. I monitor everything. It’s all about safety. It’s all about risk management.
But as I look up into that beautiful tree that rises up for miles, I send them up into it and walk away.