Locality 24 (San Luis Obispo CA, US) The Giving Tree
Veteran explorer Aroid shares stories about the hut next to the Cypress tree in his family's back yard in August 1960.
"Chuck had his fort in this tree, using bike crates for wood. Then he cut off key branches to keep us from gaining access. He tore down the fort--as much fun as building it.
Mom had something to say about us building our own fort. Clearly she did not get it. Munther the gardener built us a "nice" fort, with a concrete floor, properly put together. You can see it there, the first storey, with what was a window.
Then we took over, adding stories and taking it up into the old cypress tree.
I was always surprised how junky mom let us make this area. Then one day she suggested we clean it up, and we tore the fort down. The end of an era. Then she had the whole area professionally landscaped and it lost all interest for us. Became like a mall or a development. I guess she figured it was time, and she was right. "
1. I spent many an afternoon around here, and noticed a Painted Lady butterfly made regular rounds, often landing near the tree.
2. Chuck cut off a key low-hanging branch right here, that you had to swing over to get up into the tree. without it us short kids could not climb it. we may have had a way into the tree by using the fence.
3. The tree had resin exuding from it, which we got on our hands, and smelled of. The bark was redder below, and shredded. It had tiny green splotches on it.
4. Each of these branches, and crevices was familiar to me, how you had to stretch to get across them, it all seemed wonderfully primal, but i did not know that word at the time. It was exciting to climb as high as you could.
5. We spent a lot of time climbing around in this tree. When friends would come over I was surprised they could not scramble around in it also, because it was unfamiliar to them. It had become second nature to me. I love being up in trees, looking out.
6. Perhaps the most foolish thing I ever did was climb to the top of this tree with a coil of steel cable and throw it out and over the power line to the left. When it hit the ground all hell broke loose. Sparks flew, cable was being where it crossed the wires, and falling to the ground.
7. We got bags of new nails at Forden's Hdwr. Freddy Waters noted that we wasted nails when we had a lot of them, and were very careful when we were just about out. That always stuck in my head, his observation.
8. Chuck showed us how to straighten bent nails with a hammer and use them again. He was always hammering and building things as a child.
9. A second cypress tree grew off to the left, but it was always a runt. I climbed up in it once all by myself, must have been really little, and got stuck, and Mr. Gillardi had to be summoned to get me out.
10. this fence was taken down and replaced as part of the new order, about 1961, and nasty ivy was planted all around, and boring shrubs.