The answer comes in Myth and Magic in Literature class. We were discussing the Robin Hood legend. The assigned reading was a photocopied sheaf of papers with different treatments of the legend. And there it is, on the bottom of the page: They slept in the trees.
My mind began to wander. Some of the trees in the Endowment Lands are huge. And who looks up when they’re picking through salal and bracken? No one. I jotted down a few things I could think of right away: Can’t be visible from ground or air. Can’t stick out. Should have paid more attention when that hippie model spent two years or whatever up in the trees on a platform. For one thing, where did she pee? Poo?
Wait a minute. Platform? That brought me up short. I got wet under my shelter last time. How to stay dry? And the wind blows in winter. How to stay warm?
I added “Stay warm and dry” to my list.
After school, I googled tree shelters and came up with some good ideas. I’m going to need a roof and walls, though. Could I build a tree house? With what materials?
I took a detour home from class to look for places to put a tree house. All along Imperial was no good. There were too many dogs and joggers, and not enough foliage. For cover, I needed evergreen, so probably a Douglas Fir. But they’re shaped wrong and are all scraggly about 20 feet up, which is where I thought it best to build.
After four days of wandering, I found the right site. To the east of the ecological preserve, not far from Musqueam Creek. There was a maple there with a promising-looking fork, right beside a Douglas Fir that obscured the trunk at about 25 feet. I could see some sky, but expected that I’d be able to make some kind of camouflage cover.
I hadn’t been walking around just looking for building site, though. I was still toying with the idea of where to get materials, how to transport them, and what to use. I costed out plywood at the hardware store, but didn’t get very far. Too expensive.
Then I noticed some construction pallets outside one of the new condo developments in the village.
Three sleepless nights + two aching arms + 3 suspicious piles of leaf mold=11 construction pallets hidden in various locations near my trees.
Three days spent nodding off in class and drinking coffee and learning about wilderness shelters.
And then I began to build.