Tree Bras? by Bill Diamond

Stories of Home Series:

            All mountains attract.  The Rocky Mountains of Colorado ski country in Winter hold a special allure.  Summits, wilderness vistas, speed.

            And, like all good travel, they bring unexpected surprises and upend existing beliefs.

            For example, I assumed that trees don’t wear bras.  At least that’s what I thought until I started downhill skiing.

            The chairlifts at many Colorado ski resortsare bordered by tall red-barked Ponderosa and brown lodgepole pines.  A number of the trees adjacent to the lifts are noticeably adorned with cheap, plastic bead necklaces.  They sparkle on the high branches in the brilliant mountain sun.

            Doubtless they are the detritus of free giveaways at the Mardi Gras parties in many of the local taverns.  One can image them being impulsively flung in youthful ebullience to break the monotony of the long ride up the mountain.

            More unusual and inexplicable is that among the beads, there are a number of brassieres dangling in the branches.  This is an exuberance of an entirely different sort.  What provoked the first woman to decide that her bra would serve a higher purpose waving provocatively in the alpine wind, than doing its job hidden beneath her sweater?  Was it as simple as watching the bead throwers and wanting to join in?  Not having any necklaces to lob, did she ponder: ‘What do I have that I can toss?’   And brilliantly concluding, ‘Why, of course, I’ll throw my bra!’

            Whatever the genesis, this act takes commitment.  Although the thought may be spontaneous, the follow-throughcertainly can’t be.  Consider the many layers most skiers wear.  The effort involved in wrestling with all that clothing just to reach the undergarment is substantial on the ground, much less swinging in a chair thirty feet in the snow season air.  Even if the bra is a quick release style, it’s rapid removal requires contortions and the most determined of heroines.

            I’m sure mothers would insist that evil and salacious boys are somehow involved in these hijinks by goading their female companions.  Other parents would speculate about alcohol.  I have a different theory: simple, mindless, youthful abandon.  The Sherlock in me deduces this was not a solo actby someone skiing alone.  I can’t imagine a young lady sitting on the chairlift with a bunch of strangers deciding to disrobe and fling her lingerie. That would take a special and very confident woman.  Or, perhaps, a clinical aberration.  I say ‘young’ lady advisedly.  My experience is that more mature woman are not so spontaneous.  And, they especially aren’t that profligate with their clothing investments.

            I also doubt it was a political statement.  When feminists discarded and burned their bras in the 1960s and 1970s, they largely did it at rallies to draw attention to their movement concerns.  Donating it to a tree at a ski resort in the 21st century doesn’t send the same liberation message.

            More likely, I surmise it was a chair full of adolescent girlfriends.  The lift stopped on it’s ascent near one of the decorated trees.  As is their wont, they quickly got bored.  Minds wandered.  Dares were issued.  One of the more adventurous was swept up in the reverie, reached inside her ski parka, and, in moments, the deed was done.  Followed by squeals and uproarious laughter.

            You have to wonder whether later in the day, there might have been any chill-induced regrets?

            It also raises the question of the subsequent additions to this unusual underwear display. On various trees, there are numerous bras in the collection.  Impulsive pennants adorn the branches like a gaudy display rack in a dollar store. The liberated lifting lingerie are large and small.  Flimsy and sturdy.  Red, beige, pink, purple and black.  Even neon green?  Is this the sort of frolic that is easily contagious?  Did some later lass spot the original brassiere and think: ‘That seems like a marvelous idea.  I’m not really attached to this bra.  I think I’ll peel it off right here.’  Before you know it, the lace was fluttering like a bird through the Winter wind to alight on the verdant fingers of an evergreen tree.

            And, if the contributors are young women, how did they explain to Mom the missing garment and the need to buy a replacement?  Teenagers being what they are, she probably blurted out without thinking, “Mom, I need a new bra.”

            When Mom predictably asked, “Why?  What happened to your bra?”, the fun began.

            “It’s not what you think.  You see, we were riding up the ski lift and ……”

            I’d guess Mom was skeptical and didn’t easily swallow that bizarre explanation. Until her next ride up the same lift, when, embarrassed, she recognized the fruit of her daughter’s folly.  I bet she didn’t brag about that achievement of her progeny at the next country club social.

BIO: Bill Diamond is a writer in Evergreen, Colorado where the Rocky Mountains are both an inspiration and distraction. Webpage –

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