The Tree House

They say we’re experiencing a golden age of television, but to me, it’s all just violence. Show after show, someone is shooting or dying or killing or torturing. The stories may be well spun and the acting may be laudable, but ultimately, I’ve no interest in watching people kill other people.

Enter the tree house.

The Tree House
The tree house

I came across Tree House Masters on the Roku channel while searching for a wholesome show where no one is murdered. The Animal Planet reality program features Pete Nelson, a tree house builder from Washington state, who travels around the country to build magnificent and outrageous tree houses for folks with quirky fantasies. Of the episodes I’ve viewed, he’s constructed a spa, a brewery, a recording studio, a temple–all in trees. My favorite was built for a couple who loves Ireland so much that a rain simulating system was installed on the tin roof so they could be reminded of Irish weather.

Mr. Nelson is a visionary of tree house design and construction. It appears that he both architects and constructs the houses, but he outsources the interior design to a woman who does just as good a job. About halfway through each episode, he is called away for a “tree house emergency,” and takes off in his van to fix a rotting roof or a beam that’s been eaten by a woodpecker. In between designing and constructing, he’s often hugging trees, talking about their energy (in a non-cloying way), and explaining the biology of various tree features and diseases.

Why would you build a house in a tree when you can build one on the ground? I didn’t need to be convinced, but some people may. An episode I recently watched featured a couple who had lost their three-year-old son. The parents started a grief center for families and wanted a butterfly-themed tree house for children to play in and heal. The walls were decorated with photos of their son, and the height of the structure amid nature made them feel closer to his presence.

As it turns out, the show has been around for 11 seasons. You can even rent a stay in one of Nelson’s tree houses–but for a hefty sum. Sure, reality programs are anything but real, but I’m just delighted that I have something pleasant to watch where no one is killing or being killed.

Thanks for reading! Have you seen the show? Tell me what you think! Also, how do you feel about “architects” as a verb?

If you like this post on the tree house, you might like this one about boats in the Hudson River.

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