Friday turned out to be one of those days that left me asking, “Did that really just happen?”- over, and over, and over again. I suppose everyone has days like this from time to time, but I swear, I kept asking that question all day long. From the moment I woke up and had my first gulp of coffee, I knew it was going to be one of those days. I won’t go into everything that happened, but I do want to mention my two most favorite parts of the day – because they will stay with me for a long time.
The first highlight of my day occurred at Safe-T-Swim and will stay with me forever because it was one of those “Proud Momma Moments” that you never forget. My children have been in swimming lessons for awhile now, but Friday was the day that my kids finally connected the dots. Something clicked and they realized that they could apply what they were learning to their little bodies and this would somehow make them swim. It sounds like an easy enough concept, but for some kids, swimming doesn’t come naturally. So imagine my complete surprise when both of my kids connected the dots – on the same day – and swam freestyle all by themselves! I was so proud that I jumped up out of my chair and started yelling and clapping my hands. In the heat of the moment, I forgot I was behind one-way glass and that they couldn’t see me, so I broke the rules and ran out to the pool to give them major thumbs-ups!
Like I said, this was a huge accomplishment for them, so to celebrate their amazing feat, my husband and I decided to take them into town for pizza – in our little red wagon, which they’ve just about outgrown. As we walked through town, we took a leisurely pace and stopped whenever the kids wanted to check something out. On our way, we stopped into PixieDust for an impromptu playdate, then we bumped into Uncle PJ outside of House Of Colour, and then as we went to cross the street, we bumped into The Treeman of Venice Beach.
At first, I didn’t notice him, but I did notice the two people talking to a telephone pole. I thought they had had one too many at Happy Hour and was worried that my kids were going to see some overly-tipsy people. But as we stood at the crosswalk, my husband caught a glimpse of him and realized the “telephone pole” was real.
I was a bit skeptical, and more than slightly nervous, watching him reach out to the two strangers on the sidewalk, but my kids were yelling that they wanted to see the “walking tree” so we approached – albeit cautiously. As much as I love my town, there are many things that I like to shelter my kids from – and I just wasn’t sure where I stood with this guy.
But this is where first impressions can often go wrong and this interaction quickly became my second highlight of the day. Towering on his “big shoes”, The Treeman of Venice Beach calls himself an Eco-Warrior and makes some pretty wild bird calls. (FYI – he told us he does this by gargling at the back of his throat like Maria Carey does.) And although he may seem a bit strange at first glance, he’s a really nice guy with an important story to share.
We talked to The Treeman for quite some time (my kids were slightly obsessed) and he told us that his mission is to help people figure out who we are as a human race and to help us become aware of our natural surroundings. He told our kids that his Mom used to tell him to tell people, “Stop and smell the roses and see the flowers through the trees. We are all natural phenomenons. We are all reflections of nature.” So he took this to heart and became The Treeman.
He’s actually a bit of a celebrity and has been featured in several “documentrees” by Michael Angelo. In his latest one, he talks about how people always want to come up to him and hug him – and I’m laughing as I write this because that’s exactly what my kids wanted to do! It took all of my strength to say, “Don’t! He’s a stranger!” – but there was something about him that was undeniably huggable in a really weird sort of way.
Anyways, the experience left us laughing…and in really happy spirits – and I guess that’s the whole point. We took the time to stop – and check out The Treeman – and although we didn’t sniff him as we would have done to the roses, we definitely stopped to hear his story. As we watched him walk off down the street into the sunset, we all agreed that it was one stop that we were really happy we made.
So what’s my point? I guess it’s that we should remember to pull our faces away from our smartphones for a moment, and take in all of our natural surroundings – because you never know when The Treeman will be hiding in plain sight.
Find out more about the Treeman of Venice Beach*:
* For those of you who just have to know, his real name is Lionel Powell. 🙂
Find out more about Michael Angelo:
Website: Michael Angelo Films0