Friday, August 9, 2013

Treetop Discovery

Hey everyone! As is always the case around this time of year, I can hardly believe that it's already August! But we have had a great summer so far, and I'm hoping that our last few weeks will be just as fun!
Yesterday evening found Zoe and me in our backyard, trying valiantly, as we had been all summer, to teach Ginger how to fetch. It was one of those strange afternoons where the weather fluctuates between being very gray and brilliantly sunny. Puffy white clouds were scudding across the sky, and the sun would dive behind them, then peek out moments later.
Zoe held Ginger's favorite chew toy, a teddy bear we had named Roosevelt. Ginger sat up on her haunches, gazing eagerly up at the bear and wagging her tail in excitement.

"Go, Ginger!" I cried, as Zoe gave Roosevelt a mighty toss and Ginger ran off in pursuit.

I threw my arms up in the air, cheering wildly, while Zoe stared intently at Ginger. It looked almost as if she was trying to send a telepathic message to our dog, telling her to bring the bear back to us. Or maybe she was just trying not to startle her into running away by jumping up and down and waving my arms like I was - I don't know.

Ginger picked up Roosevelt, turned around, and trotted back towards us, looking immensely pleased with herself.

Zoe abandoned her attempts at telepathy and threw her arms into the air, cheering just as loudly as I was. Ginger got closer, and closer, until she was almost at our feet.

Zoe reached out her hand to take Roosevelt from her mouth, but she must have done so too quickly. Ginger narrowed her eyes and growled, then turned tail and trotted away in the other direction.

Zoe and I stared at her retreating tail in disbelief for a moment, then turned to look at each other.

"Oh, well," I said, laughing. "We've still got a couple more weeks until school starts." I turned around to head back into the house, when Zoe suddenly turned and cried - "Charlotte!"

"What?" I asked, turning back to look at her. She pointed at a tree in the gardens to our left. I didn't see anything particularly special about it - it seemed to be, after all, just a tree. But there must have been something about it that warranted Zoe's interest.

Zoe wouldn't tell me anything more - she just put a finger to her lips and led me towards the tall river birch nestled among the ferns in my mom's front garden. Ginger followed behind, Roosevelt still clamped firmly between her jaws.

As soon as we reached the base of the birch, I began to search it's spreading branches for a kite, a balloon, a squirrel, a bird - but there was nothing, at least that I could see.

"Zoe, what are we doing here?" I whined. Zoe just rolled her eyes and started for the base of one of the trunks.

Once there, she grasped a few sections of the loose bark firmly in her hands and settled her bare feet on the river birch's roots.

"You are so going to fall," I warned her.
"Oh, I am not," she laughed. "Just wait a second. I want to check something before you try climbing up."
"What? You're crazy if you think I'm going to follow you up there!" I cried, but she was busy searching for another handhold and didn't answer.

I watched her begin to scramble up the trunk like a squirrel as I waited, fuming, for her to come back down. And when she did, it was not at all in the way I was expecting.

"Aagh!" she cried, as her foot slipped from its hold on the trunk of the tree. She came tumbling down in a mass of flailing limbs and flying hair, and landed with her legs in the notch between two of the trunks and her head in a patch of ferns.
"Zoe!" I fairly shouted, running over to see if she was all right.

"Get me out of here!" she screamed, her voice muffled by the tangled web of thick ferns above her head. I reached out my hand and pulled her upright.

Zoe looked like a wild woman when she emerged. Her hair was tangled and frizzy and laced with tendrils of ferns. I was strongly resisting the temptation to say "I told you so", when she turned to look at the place she had fallen with a concerned expression and said, "I wonder if Mom will notice."
I started laughing hysterically, either because I knew there was no way on Earth that Mom wouldn't notice the enormous hole of torn and mangled ferns that Zoe had caused with her fall, or simply because she looked so ridiculous with ferns sprouting from her hair. Zoe must have realized the same thing - soon, she was laughing as hard as I was.

Once our giggles had subsided, she pointed up the trunk of the tree and told me to look. I saw a small mound of twigs and leaves perched in the V formed by two branches. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was a bird's nest.

"That's what you wanted to show me?" I asked Zoe in disbelief.
"Yeah. So?"
"What do you mean, so? That's it? You fell out of a tree just so you could show me a bird's nest?"
"Yeah," she responded, shrugging. "It's cool."
For some strange reason, this struck me as incredibly funny, and soon I had dissolved back into hysterical giggles. We made our way over to the front steps, where Ginger and Roosevelt joined us as we watched the sun set across the lake and listened to the lazy chirp of the crickets.

It's been a really great summer so far, and I'm hoping these last few weeks don't go by too quickly! Although I am looking forward to starting seventh grade, right now I wish summer could last forever - or at least for another month. How have your summers been? Have you done anything exciting this year - or are you planning to?

That's all for now! Thanks for reading!