Not that anyone cares, but two recent attempts to re-start tree-sits in People's Park have been foiled, and oh yes, I was so inside the story, i'm starting to feel out-on-a-limb.
The most recent failed tree-sit, Thursday, followed another failure two weeks earlier.
Cause of failures: turf wars in the East end of the park, where a park camper has laid claim to tree-sit territory.
Grouse, the first failed tree-sitter was good ground support for tree sitters but was not an experienced tree-sitter. The sitter, who came down Thursday owned his own tree-house as a boy, and often slept over on his own property.This would make him perhaps the world's first tree-house capitalist.
Both tree-sitters were thoroughly briefed by me. I was in on planning protest demands, and even supplied water to Grouse, who was not being supported on the ground. If only I weren't too chicken to go up myself.
But when I give my now standard speech to tree-sitters about the dangers they face, which is based on previous stabbings and broken backs in the trees, I frighten myself.
I have covered four park tree-sits for the Planet, and those of you, who have not tuned out, have slogged through them.
My questions to Grouse about self-defense in the tree (was he ready for an attack, like the one that threatened to dislodge a previous sitter?) only chilled Grouse's already cold feet.
Nor was he cheered by the commotion that ensued at the base of the tree, at the late-night erection that brought him to his perch. The commotion led to an absence of supplies in the tree, or the usual banners and other tree-sit accouterments. In the commotion, Running Wolf, the tree-sit leader, fled after blood-drawing fisticuffs with a near-by camper.
"I had to get out of there, because passing students threatened to call police, and I'm running for mayor," Running Wolf said." It wouldn't have looked good," he told me.
By next morning, Grouse was running scared, after being threatened that morning by a fierce group of what he called "gang-bangers."
After no more than thirty hours aloft, Grouse descended, probably for water or food, and university police used his absence to destroy his tree-sit platform, and later sawed off twenty tree-limbs, seemingly making the tree unscalable.
Some said the tree was wounded and swaying.
Running Wolf boasted he could rig a tree-sit platform to the dismembered old tree. He drew me a diagram to prove it.
But according to reports from the park, Thursday's sit could not be rigged to the limb- challenged tree. It's days as a protest site are toast.
A nearby tree was selected, but when Eddie Mill, 23, his real name, came down the next morning, the camper who fought Running Wolf weeks ago cut the rigging lines, and the sixty pound tree-sit platform, crashed to the ground.
The sturdy platform, intact, was dragged across the street and propped against a dumpster, where it may be re-used for future sits, according to a back-up tree-sitter named Dante.
The high-minded camper-sheriff who has squelched two tree-sits told me to tell the sitters, "Don't come back. I'll keep stopping you."
I'll be incorporating this latest into my next tree-sit orientation lecture.
Ted Friedman reports for the Planet from the always amusing, when not replicative, South-side.