When I was child, I slept in the attic – in a single bed underneath a wide skylight. I would lie on my back and stare up through the glass: watch the birds. When I was very young, I liked the small ones best – flitting, dancing, changing direction again and again, like they couldn’t quite make up their mind where they were going. As I got older I learned to love the seagulls, their eyes on the horizon, never afraid to voice their opinions.
When we were both little enough to lay side by side, my sister would join me on the bed. ‘They look down here and think we’re so tiny,’ she’d say, and I’d shake my head, because to me, our house could never be small.
This morning I took a ladder and laid it against the wall of Conifers at the bottom of my garden. Fifteen feet between me and the ground; the wind tugged at my legs like an insistent child. I was on a level with the birds. I could look down at the lawnmower and imagine it was a toy. I could see out across the town and realise how quickly it petered out into countryside. I could, for a moment, see how little it all mattered.
Inspired by Karen’s answer to the question: when was the last time you climbed a tree?, June 8th, 4.48pm,