Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Operation Squirrel- An afternoon of God's creatures ( Including kids!)

May 12, 2009

"22 hrs in the tree and everything is going well. Beautiful sunny afternoon- but people keep coming to tell of the forecast for tomorrow. Some seem to tell tall tales- "Severe thunderstorms, high winds, 80% chance- no 90%!"

I just ate a snack of nutter butters, blueberries and strawberries- veggies and hummus are next. Last night my mom brought a steak sandwich. I have popcorn for a late-night snack; also prosciutto and dark chocolate.

I hear rustling leaves, chattering red- belled wood peckers, melodious rose-breasted grosbeaks, the humming of distant propeller planes, and- deep in the forest- gray tree frogs singing. Red winged blackbirds ride rushes in the retention pond.

The kids keep bringing questions- most commonly "How do you go to the bathroom?" No one has asked-yet- if I've seen oriole or heard an owl. They are under the impression that this location is well- populated but I have yet to see one.

Mrs. Winn's class is making bird feet- perching feet, climbing feet, catching prey feet- out of pipe cleaners and attaching them to branches. The kids are 2nd graders and clearly know different avian functional groups."


  1. Don't let gravity get the better of you Dave!
    Good luck!

  2. I wish you all the best! I got this web site from an AP story on you.

  3. Fantastic idea! I, a teacher myself, have gone over and above the call of duty, as most of do, for our kids! I read about some of your other adventures, you seem like you are an amazing teacher. Keep up the great work! Heres a great story..... whether we think our actions are large or small. They do make an impact. Good luck!!!.......

    One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.
    Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about e ach of their classmates and write it down.

    It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.

    That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual.

    On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. 'Really?' she heard whispered. 'I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!' and, 'I didn't know others liked me so much,' were most of the comments.

    No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.

    Several years later, one of the students was killed in
    Vietnam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature.

    The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin.

    As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. 'Were you Mark's math teacher?' he asked. She nodded: 'yes.' Then he said: 'Mark talked about you a lot.'

    After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates went together to a luncheon. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.

    'We want to show you something,' his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket 'They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it.'

    Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him.

    'Thank you so much for doing that,' Mark's mother said. 'As you can see, Mark treasured it..'

    All of Mark's former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, 'I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my desk at home.'

    Chuck's wife said, 'Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album.'

    'I have mine too,' Marilyn said. 'It's in my diary'

    Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. 'I carry this with me at all times,' Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: 'I think we all saved our lists'

    That's when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.

    The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don't know when that one day will be.

    So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important.. Tell them, before it is too late.. And One Way To Accomplish This Is: Forward this message on. If you do not send it, you will have, once again passed up the wonderful opportunity to do something nice and beautiful.

  4. There's lots of reasons to climb a tree. Just about all of them are great, for trees improve one's 'outlook'. At www.treedr.com, there are lots of climbing pics, and the redwoods are a focus. It seems the bigger the better, as foreshortening is exaggerated in a narrowed field of view.

    The perspective of the climber who is very high allows more to be seen from the same vantage point in the upper canopy. Objects that are farher appear to be smaller, which is an optical illusion. The Rennaisance used these art principles to simulate 3D scenes on a flat canvas, revolutionizing painting techniques with realism.

    Photography from the treetops allows emphasis on either lower or higher levels above the ground by adjusting depth of field to sharpen focus on selected subjects. Changing lens aperature to highlight obects at different distances from the observer enhances the sense of height by pulling less important parts of the scene out of focus.

    Adding video captures the swaying harmonic as wind energy is dissipated by the spring-loaded, tapering fly-rod limb structure. In especially tall trees, multiple waves of undulating motion simultaneously traverse the length of single stems. Looking down from the top of Palm trees reveals the vertical bobbing up & down, as if on a coil spring.

    While standing on the very top limb of a tree, the climber can peer up & over the lid of the forest and watch the arrival of waves of wind sliding over the ridges of the contiguous upper canopy surface. The whooshing sounds of the incoming breeze echoes in a time-lag asynchronisity while the instant view temporarily precedes the delayed sounds of the arriving gusts.

    Don't forget the community of tree climbers sharing their take on this anti-gravity bit. Usually, the more climbers up in a tree, the better! While there are advantages to silent contemplation while aloft in a tree, solitaryness can bring on a case of cabin fever. The more climbers in a tree, the more fun it is for all. The first ascent oftentimes motivates climbers to dig out their cell phone from under the layers of strapping gear and call their mother. The chattering of multiple climbers expressing their hopes, fears, thoughts and dreams is very stimulating to the soul. We become invigorated by the possibilities that challenging gravity's physical limitations has revealed.

    Then there is always the descent to earth and letdown of reentering the effects of that pesky gravity. The shock value of cancelling the effects of liberating altitude during rappel can be quite depressing. Those mundane comments from the peanut gallery can never be adequately answered The inquiries of 'what was it like up there?' will not be satisfyingly addressed. The earthbound denizens of the forest floor seem smilingly trapped by their own denial of the existence of rope tools. The climber alone can relate, and reserves the nugget of the experience to relish the return to the arboreal world.

    Arboreally yours,

    Michael Oxman

  5. I was on AmishDonkey.com and saw you were in a tree for 24+ hrs...

    I read your blog and I wish you the best of luck. I have a question for you.

    Are you in multiple trees or are you just moving around the same tree?

  6. Any way you can post a picture of the set up in the tree? I think we would all love to see photos!

    Ericka in Ohio