By: Mary Fran Bontempo

To hear an audio version of this post, click the play arrow below.

“Mom! Give me the saw and get out of the tree!”

A few days before the devastation that arrived in the form of hurricane Sandy, I decided to clean up the yard in preparation for the storm. We’ve had our share of storm-related messes before, so cleaning gutters and clearing out some dead wood from old, very large trees was a no-brainer.
Which I proceeded to prove by climbing a tree in an effort to saw off a huge, dead branch.
Yeah. I climbed a tree. With a saw (a hand saw, not a power saw, though a power saw would have been faster). It seemed like such a good idea at the time.
I didn’t climb trees when I was a kid. Back then, I was afraid to climb them. Back then, I was clearly smarter than I am now.
It really didn’t look that high from the ground. In fact, I got up there pretty quickly. Somehow, though, once perched, the ground looked really far away. I’m pretty sure I know how cats feel when they find themselves stuck.
Fortunately, no one called the fire department. But my daughter, helping in the clean-up efforts, came close. When she heard the sound of the saw on the wood, Laura glanced up from raking leaves to see what I was up to.
“Oh my God! Mom! Are you insane? What are you doing?!”
“I’m cutting this branch down. What’s it look like I’m doing?”
“It looks like you’ve lost your mind! How did you get up there?” she said, racing over to the tree.
“I used the step ladder. I’m fine.” That is, I was fine as long as I didn’t move too much, which was kind of hard as I was sawing.
“Why didn’t you wait for Dad to do that? He said he’d do whatever you wanted after his game.”
Patience has never been my strong suit. When I decide to do something, I usually want it done yesterday. Sure my husband would have helped me. But he would have helped me the day after I wanted it done. So, dead branch, step ladder, saw and the next thing I knew, I was up a tree.
“A minute. Just give me another minute; I’m almost done,” I said.
“I can’t believe these words are coming out of my mouth. Mom! Give me the saw and get out of the tree!”
Just then, the branch started to crack. “Watch out, here it comes!” I said. In what seemed like slow motion, the dead wood fell from the tree.  
“Are you happy, now?” my daughter asked.
“Actually, I am. It came down exactly where I thought it would. Who knew? I’m a lumberjack!” I exalted.
“Great, Paul Bunyan. Now get out of the tree,” Laura said as she helped me down.
I have to say, the whole experience was rather exhilarating. And given the nasty winds and downed trees delivered courtesy of Sandy, I’m glad I got the branch down. Next time, though, I think I’ll leave the tree climbing and sawing to the men and stick to less dangerous pursuits.
Right after I figure out how to replace the roof shingles we lost in the storm.

What’s your take on tree climbing and other things best left to kids? Click “comments” below and share!