treehouseOct 26, 2022–What is it about a treehouse?

My 7-year-old granddaughter has been asking for her own treehouse for several weeks, so guess what we’ve been building?

We are repurposing the fruitless mulberry in our front yard that served as a treehouse for my now-grown daughter. It is not hyperbole to say my daughter practically lived in it. During her homeschool years, if you wanted to find her you looked in the tree, where she often went to do her homework. Over the years raising our four children, we had an assortment of treehouses, some built by themselves in the corners of our property. One was a converted deer blind that was at least 20 feet off the ground. I was reluctant to climb it, making it perfect for teenage boys.

I do understand the appeal of a proper treehouse.

Back in my own childhood, as someone who slept in a room with four brothers, the treehouse served as my only refuge. Ours was a sturdy modular unit. At the time, my dad was working for a music store, so one day he brought home a piano crate. This thing was built better than 80% of new homes today. They used them to ship Yamaha grand pianos from Japan. We rigged up a block and tackle and fired up the Farmall to hoist the entire crate into the lower branches of the maple tree that also held our basketball goal.

It was not just a treehouse; it was literally a house in a tree. I installed a bookshelf so I could sequester myself just to read.

There is something magical, elemental, natural about sitting within the branches of a tree. Perhaps it harks back to our arboreal ancestors, who sought refuge from predators. Perhaps it’s the feeling of being cradled in the arms of a beneficent plant.

Elevating oneself above the ground places you in the breeze, surrounds you with greenery, extends your horizon, and, paradoxically, connects you to the earth.

I asked the kids why they like treehouses, and they gave better answers. The 7-year-old said “it is peaceful, you see pretty views, and you can feel like the birds.” The 3-year-old said “you are closer to the sky, it feels like you are flying,” and, of course, “the ground is lava.”

I wonder if the concept would transfer to business? Instead of isolating workers in cubicles, what if our offices were forests of trees, with treehouses connected by technology? Think Tarzan, but with ties and wi-fi.

Productivity would soar. Worker morale would improve.

Fitness levels would increase.

Utility costs would come down.

Global warming would be curtailed.

How exciting to head out to work every morning knowing your office was in a tree?

What’s stopping us? Let’s all go climb a tree.