It is cold and clear when I climb the tree in late afternoon, one-armed still and only into the lower branches. The sun is millimeters from the horizon. Light rakes sideways across the landscape, across new snow and into the tree. The world is rich with eye-feel when lit from the side, every texture thrown into relief. And golden in the sun’s last light. I climb in winter coat and Bogs and latex-palmed wool gloves for grip. There is a fair wind, and it feels bracingly good on my face.
And I am experiencing an absurd degree of pleasure at the fact that I am also wearing an Arborwear fleece I have just received for Christmas, a piece of clothing from a company founded by arborists—clothing designed for climbing trees. It is a beautifully made fleece, to be sure, and while it doesn’t really equip me any better for the tree than any other good fleece, it is still ridiculously fun to be wearing something on my daily ascent that was made specifically for climbing trees. It will become a favorite.
I take some photographs, watch the last reddish light rise up the trunks of the trees in the woods behind me as the sun sinks below the horizon, then climb down and wrestle with the dogs in the snow on the way back to the house.
A fine Christmas climb.