May 19th 2015
Today is story time. Yesterday I promised a 1000 word blog post, so here we go.
During last summer I went to a music festival in Portugal with my best friend, Aaron. The festival itself was, naturally, incredible but that’s not what my story is about. What I’ll take from that weekend was not the experience of seeing my favourite bands in 25 degree heat, but something that happened away from the festival and the music altogether.
Behind our campsite there was this massive hill, (we called it a mountain at the time, but it wasn’t, it was a hill) and because there wasn’t much to do during the day when the bands weren’t on, we decided to climb that mountain. (A more apt description would be that we “walked to the top of that hill”
Our main reason behind climbing the mountain (again, walking the hill) was because it was our belief that from the top of the hill you could see all of Lisbon.
This turned out to be a pretty incorrect assumption. Because once we got to the top it wasn’t like a table top surface where you could see 360 degrees in all directions, it was more of a snooker table where you could stand in the middle but there was bushes blocking your view on either side. And if you walked to the other side of the bushes then you could only see in one direction, and we wanted to see in all directions.
So we climbed a tree.
In the middle (ish) of the clearing there was this large Pine tree (how I know it was a Pine tree will become more evident later on, I’m not the type of person that can classify trees as readily as I just seem to have done) It was mid July in searing Algarvian (not a word, but just go with it… Also not even technically or geographically accurate but, yeah, just go with it…) heat, so the tree was pretty scarce of leaves. But what it did have was a shit tonne of pine cones. (Yes, that is how I knew it was a pine tree, although I did just Google “Pine Cone Tree” to make sure it wasn’t called something else)
This tree was a decent height, if I knew anything about scalar measurements of distance then I’d probably tell you it was about 100 metres which is about 30 foot which kinda sorta almost sounds about right. Because of all the pinecones and the branches and the other tree-like features such as, you know, that big wide branch in the middle. The stem? Anyway, because all of those things were in the way, the only way I was going to get the 360 degree view of Lisbon that I so desperately wanted was if I got right to the top.
So that’s what I did. I kept climbing until I was at the top. And when there wasn’t a logical foothold on which to boost myself up to the next level, I made one, or I pulled myself up. I did whatever I had to do to get up because there was no way I wasn’t going to get to the top of that tree.
And I did.
The view was breathtaking, don’t get me wrong, but by about three quarters of the way up that tree it wasn’t even about the view anymore. My friend had bailed about half way up, but I just had to get to the top.
And I did.
I fashioned myself a little seat out of two branches and a couple of twigs and I took in my surroundings. I was at the highest point anywhere in a visible radius. The only thing above me was the clouds and the only people above me were the people in the planes flying through the clouds. Although saying that, the weather was just shy of perfect so there probably wasn’t even any clouds and I’m just saying that for visual effect. But I’m allowed to do that, because this is my story and you’re just reading it.
I sat there, on my perch of pine cones for about fifteen minutes, just taking it all in. Had I have had my phone with me I’d’ve taken a photo that could describe what I saw infinitely better than I ever could. I said this post is to be 1,000 words long and apparently one picture is worth about that many words, so I’ve heard. I was, at that moment, on top of the world in a way that I’d never been before.
And because I couldn’t get a photo I got, almost, the next best thing. A pine cone. I took the absolute highest one as a symbol of my accomplishment, and to this day I still have that pine cone. It’s in a box above my bed back home along with an assortment of other little trophies from my 21 years walking on this earth and climbing its trees.
When I eventually scaled down (de-scaled?) the tree and returned to a ground more stable I was feeling deep, inspired and motivated. And that day I made a promise.
What I should have mentioned earlier about Aaron is that he, like me, one day wants to be a writer. That’s an interest we share, and one we both one day hope will be fruitioned. (I’m allowed to make up words, with this particular one being a shortened form of “to come to fruition”) That weekend we’d both bounced a lot of ideas off each other about our respective current projects, if I’ve got my timeline right, at that point I’d finished my first novel but had not yet done anything productive or proactive with it in regards to getting it published. (which, as it happens, is the exact same situation as I am in now) But that day, July 11th 2015 we promised each other, we made an ode that exactly five years to the day from that day we would both have novels published.
That was ten months ago, and I am no closer. Although I am a hell of a lot closer to finishing University with a Maths degree. (Yes my exam went well today, thanks for asking.) Only four years ten months left to do something.
Until tomorrow, how many words does a pine cone paint?