He was doing a trick.


With his kendama (see picture at right). It’s the toy that has saddled up, tried and true, right next to electronic video games, grabbing the attention of everyone in Jeb’s third grade class.

So Jeb was trying the move where the handle leaves your hand and the string circles round your wrist. Spinning so fast, it flew into orbit, moving in a trajectory, through the air, right to the top of a distant puakinikini tree. We both stood there, watching it soar straight into the branches, never hearing it hit the ground.


Two weeks later and we still have not recovered the kendama.

Jeb’s looked. The Bohemian’s looked. I’ve searched. To no avail. It seems simple enough. A fairly short tree, just go in at the trunk, look up to its outstretched branches, and one should see the toy hanging there. But we don’t see it.

We’ve shaken the tree for sounds of the wood ball clacking the wood handle. Nothing.

We’ve shifted angles. Looked from a distance toward the treetop. Climbed the branches and looked up from the inside. We’ve shaken and shifted. It’s as though that spacewalking kendama just vanished through a portal.

Somewhere along my third tree-climbing search, I begin to consider that we must be barking up the wrong tree. Not literally, the wrong tree, but in an erroneous way.

“Jeb, is it possible that it did fall on the ground and could be buried under some of these dried leaves?”

“No, it’s not on the ground, I looked.”

“But wouldn’t it be crazy if this whole time we’re searching for it, looking up, when it actually was down?”

I think about all of the code-crackers of the world: scientists, philosophers, poets. Seeking keys to unlock mysteries.

Attempting to unveil the truth, a good seeker will explore from every angle. And every perspective needs to be considered. It’s easy when you know where to look. The trick is figuring out new ways of looking – the ones you’ve never considered before.

Clearly, Jeb and I have exhausted the inside tree view on our kendama quest. And shaking it has produced nothing.

We’ve got to get creative if we want to solve this mystery. We brainstorm. Maybe employ a ladder and look from the top side, in. Possibly prune back the branches. I’m still suspicious it may be camouflaged on the ground at the base of the tree. Maybe we take a pause and let a good tropical rain storm it out.

I mean, it’s gotta be in there, right? We both saw it fly inside the tree leaves. But if we consider every possibility, well, then, I suppose we could also chalk it up to a great mystery. Weave a tale of the flying kendama that spacewalked into another time and place.

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