Bars and branches

There is a theory that some people overeat junk food because the food does not give them enough nutrition so that they are never satisfied.

There is an argument for training in nature that it is better for the body because it forces the body to adapt to an infinite variety of shapes, spaces, angles and textures. I am not going to make this argument.

I’m just back from my local park where I’ve spent a happy hour or two climbing trees. I don’t have any special tree climbing skill, I cannot do any spectacular leaps into trees or from branch to branch. My lack of remarkableness is important.

What I have observed in a couple of weeks of pretty much daily tree play is a gradual, organic but very noticeable opening of possibilities.

My first trips around the park I struggled to find trees to climb. I cursed the park management for planting the wrong kinds of tree, for planting them too close together, for removing low branches and so on.

But of course there were trees I could get into.

Once I had climbed into one tree I began to see other trees a bit like it and I realised that there are a whole lot more that I can explore.

Each exploration leads to slightly wider possibilities. ‘I wonder if I can do this? I wonder if I can get from there to there?’

As my competencies grow, I see more and more opportunities. Different things to try in trees, different ways into trees.

Part of the pleasure in this is that none of it feels forced. I walk to the base of a tree, sometimes I go straight up. Sometimes I plan a way up, and go. Sometimes I’m not sure I can do it, in which case I may make some attempts and succeed or not. It’s no problem.

It all seems to unfold organically. I am not following any kind of set ‘progressions’ or sets of reps. I just see more possibilities each time I go out. The tree and the ground around it invites certain movements, and the movements feel good.

There is a degree of risk to some movements and I cling on to branches harder than I need to sometimes. I look at other moves and think ‘It’s possible, I could do it, maybe. Not today though.’

The process unfolding seems to pull me on. ‘Not today’ because my body recognises ‘not worth the risk’ and at the same time another part of me recognises ‘the risk is getting smaller’ my body wants to figure it out - the placement, the forces, the shapes, the timing, the return.

What does this have to do with bars? Very little, and the point is in the contrast.

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