Arboreal Architecture

There is an ‘inner-child’ fascination with secret hide-outs, building blanket forts, and climbing into the canopy of a tree.  All of these transport us into another space and time.  As the summer months begin with long days stretching out ahead, we look for activities to intrigue and entertain. A good place to start is to read Johann David Wyss’ book, Swiss Family Robinson to spark some childhood creativity.  Pastor Wyss was inspired by the book Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Dafoe, as a means to teach important lessons to his children.  Baby Boomers will remember the Disney movie version of this story, also entitled, Swiss Family Robinson. The story tells of  a family shipwrecked and stranded on an island far from society and the lessons the father taught his children. The most memorable part is the home they built together as a family – a treehouse.

The key item needed on the building list, of course,  is a tree. Growing up in a suburban neighborhood you didn’t have to go far.  Most kids growing up probably had a very nice established landscape tree in their backyard, if not the best friend down the street had one or an abandoned lot in a near neighborhood.  Driving around town you can spot remnants of aging planks precariously nailed to thick branches where kids perched many summers ago. Today, not many large landscape trees are being grown.  They have been cut down to build new developments or felled due to damage or disease.  It is a gem to live in an area blessed with these graceful giants.  Consider going out on a limb and constructing a small ‘hide-out’.  If building a treehouse is not on the summer to do list,  maybe learning how to climb a tree (a big tree) will satisfy a childhood memory.