A young dogwood is visible through my kitchen window. Only a child of seven should climb the dogwood, and not too high, lest the nimble branches bend and break.
I wasn’t holding this rationale thought while seeking a distraction from tedious Saturday chores. I simply wanted to spend 5 minutes in the dogwood. The sky was cloudless blue, the temperature a balmy 64 degrees. Seemed like a good idea.
With torso wedged between two thigh-sized branches and feet pressed against an ever moving limb I did not find my place of mediative calm. After a minute of discomfort, I entertained the possibility of climbing a little higher so I could reach the pergola.
Mistake number two.
I touched the pergola with my hand, but the movement in the tree, my weight shifting, my feet pinched was far from a soulful experience. I needed to sit. I extended my right leg and pressed my bare foot against the beam. The cedar was cool, somewhat slimy. I’d say I held this position for seconds before losing my balance.
I am upright by the dogwood trunk.
My shin hurts like mad.
I have not broken a bone.
When I sought my MFA, we explored gathering research through direct experiences, primary research. A classmate stuck her head in the toilet bowl and flushed to experience rushing water sweeping her hair into a troll style. I had no desire to flush my head. But the tree experience seemed worth trying.
I would not recommend falling from a tree to gather research.
There are safer ways to spend 5 Minutes in a Tree.
That, too constitutes research. Sane research.