About a week and a half ago, I was lucky enough to actually go into the field and start doing research. Which meant, of course, that I got to rest my butt about 60 feet up an Acer macrophyllum tree for the first time.
It. Was. Spectacular.
The day was beautiful to begin with – it was sunny, the birds were chirping, the mosquitoes were biting – and it just got better when I was far above the solid ground. I looked around and saw nothing but sun-specked green for as far as I could see. Plus, the mosquitoes go away once you get far enough off the ground, so that also helped.
Needless to say, being so high in the canopy changed my perspective. But it didn’t do so in the typical “I saw the world from above” sense, as rock climbing has given me that sensation far too many times. But I’ve never been so far above the ground on another living thing, surrounded by thousands of living things. Before climbing the tree, I knew that research on these trees was important, but I didn’t really know why. Afterwards, however, the meaning behind what I’m doing became clear: these trees are beautiful, complex, and full of life. I want to do all that I can to have other people understand that, as well.
We return to the field in 4 days, and, needless to say, I can’t wait to get high again.