At ten I knew the location of every bird's nest in the woods behind my house, at least every nest to which I was able to climb. I gave tours to whoever was interested -- suffice to say that my career as a youthful tour guide was short lived. My passion was a solitary one. But the thrill of finding a nest filled with blue eggs was unlike any other. I always wanted to tell the mother bird not to fret -- I was only after a glimpse. They were fearless and frantic, those maternal robins, diving perilously close to me, full of squawking and bluster.
Hours were spent slung over an alder limb, in the company of leaves and sky. I possessed an intimate knowledge of how a tree grew, could calculate the weight-bearing capabilities of a branch, how far the uppermost tip of a tree would sway once I climbed as high as I dared, and higher, often.
And the new leaves, that bright yellow-green in April.