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Weather: Climbing the Living Peaks of Nature

Joined: 3/28/2015
Posts: 3
I watch the radiant rays of sunlight illuminate one side of the giant sequoia tree as I cautiously sit back in my harness and dangle wildly from the neon rope. It seems like only seconds ago that raindrops were shooting from the sky like wet bullets. Their sharp stings made me feel fresh and alive. But now the blazing, glowing ball of fire electrifies the sky, injecting it with a rich, deep, endless blue. The vivid, spade-shaped leaves of the tree are divided by a clear line: half are a clean, shiny green, while the others are tinged with a metallic yellow. The warm breeze seems to dissolve into my skin, exciting each thin hair into a smooth dance. As I hover in the air 250 feet above the soil, I feel more free, more fearless than ever. Part of it is the unpredictable, surreal weather that keeps my adventurous adrenaline pumping. But part of it is the fact that I am putting my life on the branches of this natural beauty, that I am daring to explore such breathtaking heights.
I am part of a quirky group of tree climbers on a mission to photograph the gorgeous valley surrounding us. Never before have I realized the true beauty of New Zealand, even though I lived in Auckland for a year when I was a tiny second grader. I always loved the weather here - never cold or bitter, but constantly changing. Clouds would never linger long enough to upset me; they always gave in and parted unwillingly, slowly rumbling away. When I moved back to the U.S., I could feel how my mood swung back and forth like a conflicted pendulum. The Indiana weather was so predictable, unsatisfactory, extreme. Summers were dense with heat and stickiness; winters were dry, barren, and white. Every year, there were only a few days with perfect weather: in the high 60s with a sweet breeze and a few puffy cumulus clouds nibbling at the horizon. That's why my dad and I wanted to move back to "the land of the long white cloud."
I advance my ascenders using the tedious Texas kick method I had learned so long ago at The Orchard School.
This is a hundred times better, I think as I crest the top branches of the tree which seem to stab into the gaseous sun. I stop climbing for a moment and stare out into the vast green sea of the valley, dotted with hundreds of shades of green like an impressionist painting.
What would the world be like without weather? So boring, so plain, so blank. Like a colorless sheet of white paper, waiting for an artist's touch. I reach into my backpack and grope around until I find my dad's old Pentax film camera. Clouds seem to be surrounding the forest like a halo, but they hesitate. They are waiting for me. I focus my camera and squeeze the shutter slowly. SNAP.
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