While wearing white pants.
It was late afternoon and I’d gathered the kids for a pre-dinner walk. I needed air. I’d been all knotted up.
And then I passed this tree. I’ve been by it a hundred times before now. But this time, with its branches wide and low like arms outstretched, it beckoned me to find my way in.
This isn’t the first time I’ve felt a sudden urge to climb a tree. Perhaps it’s to make up for missed time in my youth when I would hesitate and stop as soon as the butterflies in my belly began to stir.
Now, I wavered for only a brief moment before kicking the stroller into park – and jumping on up.
My daughter giggled and swooned in disbelief as I made my way higher. My son kept asking, “but what are you doing?” And the baby, well, he just took it all in. As he often does.
I felt pure joy in those branches. The butterflies awoke – and my palms got a bit sweaty as I reached higher.
(I was wearing the worst shoes to climb a tree.)
And yet, I could’ve stayed up there forever.
But I decided to make my way back down to where my kids awaited me – and return again another day. Wearing better shoes.
Except, I got stuck. Stuck enough that my daughter nearly stopped two maintenance men to help me down.
I assured her that I would find my way. “Just jump!” she encouraged. “You can do it!”
I looked down to assess the risk. Somehow the grass below seemed so unforgiving.
“JUMP!” she yelled. “Or else you’ll never get down.”
And so I jumped.
I brushed some of the dirt off my white pants and then looked up. I had only been about six feet from the ground when I’d jumped. And still, it took a bit of coaxing.
You see, it’s not the heights to which we aspire – or how far we actually go – that matter. Our comfort, fear, aspirations – it’s all relative.
What matters is that we dare – whether it’s one step, or branch, or leap.
With white pants and all.