Growing up in Alaska, the wild space around me was something invisible. I had no awareness that the world was something other than myself. My friends and I perambulated the wilderness with the careless disregard of youth, clambering to the peaks of 100-foot-high pine trees and swinging from the soft tops on dares.
There was a tree fort out in the woods that was 25 feet in the air — not even halfway up the tree. The way up was almost entirely crumbling chunks of boards nailed erratically into the trunk to form rungs. At the top, one had to stretch out and grab the floor of the fort and sort of clamber up over the lip of the platform. Conveniently, the platform was disintegrating, so the edge was rougher and shallower than it once had been, making it less a switchback climbing maneuver to swing to the platform than a lean of faith. I wonder if the kids who live in those houses now even know it’s there — some aeriform retreat hovering above the houses like a mossy cloud.