In the Greenwood: Part 3


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.


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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.

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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.

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