The trunk is huge but there are footholds, some carved by others, some provided by the tree. Climbing starts without decision, it is simply what must be done, like breathing in and out. Two branches leave the trunk, one to the north one to the south, I look up to see how they end but leaves covering small limbs conceal all in shadows of dark and light greens. Both branches are strong. I test my weight on the right and then on the left, both are sturdy. I choose the right branch; it shows the most use by others. Another why, another choice, I choose the thicker limb. Another choice, I choose the move toward the center. Another choice, this time only one stem will take my weight. The direction is not what I prefer, but is there really a choice? Looking down into the tree I can see into the leaves where the first branches leave the trunk, I see the way to the top of the tree. Around me branches from other paths come near my perch, a jump of only a few feet would give me choices I no longer have. Pushing from the already over used stem produces a crack, my foot slips, I grab for twigs and leaves as I fall, some slow my decent, some just slap my face and pull skin from my hands. Falling stops. I lay in the crotch of the tree, breathing hard, filled with the joy of life. I am still climbing but now I sit once more at the first branching. The vision from the top comes back to me as my breath returns. My hands are sore, my back hurts, but my legs are strong. I choose the branch to the left; the less used, and start to climb.