Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • The tree leaves sway in the brisk fall wind as I entered the Morris Arboretum. Above my head lies a gigantic web, not for spiders or insects but for humans. I want to see what could possibly be up there, up in the fragile, green treetops. I take the rickety bridge path to the unknown above and find myself at the edge of what I will call a high line hammock. I slowly take a step in and rest my body along the rope links. Gazing through the web of intricate ropes toward the parkland floor, I find myself fascinated by what lies beneath. The view from the top in a squirrel’s perch illuminates the unknown life of this small creature. The somewhat out of place yet amusing manmade hammock disrupts the naturalness of the trees, fallen leaves and buzzing bees but creates a peaceful world of difference.

    Fearful of a grand fall to the hard dirt and twigs below, my heart races with the excitement of a very unlikely but still mind-entering threat. And yet, the fear is not strong enough to overshadow my childish pleasure of the climb to the usually hidden treetop bleacher overlooking grounded life. Access to a place not travelled by the human self is thrilling in itself, but gives a peek into something far beyond the daily routine. The unfamiliar is replaced by the familiar of another species, that of a squirrel or other small animal. The heights climbed by the small and nimble reveal themselves to those worthy of venturing to the canopy.

    Lying in my high line hammock above the rest of the park, I am greeted by other curious visitors searching for what, from the ground, looks just like a boring net. Once they stumble upon the sky bench, their faces brighten with the realization of both access and fun. It’s not your average bench; it’s in the air looking down on the world, as we know it. The ropes laced in and out, layers upon layers of safety netting beneath replaces the wooden norms of my sedentary moments.

    I happened to be sharing my canopy lounge with 15 or so of my sorority sisters. As more and more people climbed up the pathway to the top, they watched as we all sat together talking and taking numerous pictures. Should we join? Would the weight of these girls and myself and my friend and the other people around test the strength of the nets to a breaking point? Could these girls be here for a reason other than relaxation? The expressions on the audience members’ faces seemed to dictate my same initial concerns as the group of us made our way to the edge of the net. Once one took the leap of faith, though, others seemed to excitedly join in the sky-high experience, waiting for the next explorer to arrive.

    As each moment passed, I longed to stay in the treetop for days, but the world below beckoned me back to reality. Slowly but surely I had to leave my hiding spot, but I plan to return soon enough to my high line hammock.
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.