There wasn't a lot to do in the country before cable television, and when you had as many kids as my parents did, solitude was hard to come by. Also, no one was going to climb a tree to steal my cookies or crackers or whatever I'd scrounged from the kitchen.
My father later told me always chuckled to see me up there because a family of black snakes lived in those trees, and he was just waiting for the day we'd discover each other.
Now, my father was known to pull a leg or two, and I don't really know if Hoosier snakes actually live in trees. I do know that they can climb trees. (Yes, Annmarie, this is where you ask me if squirrels swim, and I repeat for the thousandth time, they will to survive but no, they don't do the backstroke in the Broad Ripple canal just for fun.)
For the record, I never encountered a snake in a tree at home and had I thought I would, I would have never climbed them. I was reminded of that childhood habit of mine because when February decided to dabble in spring-like weather, I was out in the yard cleaning up sticks and such when Alison decided to take a climb up a small tree in our yard to scout the roof.
She tossed down sticks and pushed of acorns that had accumulated on the gutter screens and then decided she liked it up there. So she hopped down, found a book and went back up. Before you call the parenting police, I will say that I did consider whether to let her stay up there. But she's pretty nimble, the roof is not steeply angled, and heck: she was outside instead of in front of the cable box.
Today is just as balmy as yesterday, and she's expanded her up-top utopia with a basket tied to a tree branch with her bathrobe sash. It's a delivery system for books and snacks. Apparently she and I are not as dissimilar as I sometimes think.
Before I left for a walk, she called down to ask me to put a sharpie and some printer paper in the basket. I thought about asking her why, but decided against it. I came back to see that she'd taped something to the chimney.
From the driveway, I asked her what it was. "I looked up Morse Code and wrote it all out," she said. "So if I'm in trouble, I can stomp out a message."
"What makes you think I know Morse Code?" I asked.
"I expect you to learn it by this afternoon," she said.
I think I'll wait for the yelp.