After much deliberation, option-weighing and advice, we have decided to move. We’re only going down the beach about six blocks, but as most of you know, even moving your entire existence fifteen feet to the left is a massive uprooting, and this place has been pretty awesome to us.
At first, we were thinking about Josie’s advice to rearrange and purge, but for me, it ultimately came down to something very arbitrary and simple. When we got here in 2006, it was so sunny and hot we had to find refuge under the tiny lemon trees standing in the yard. With each passing year, however, I was noticing the front yard being constantly moist, with the grass getting sickly. Our tomato output looked something like this:
2007: 8 Brandywines, 9 beefsteaks
2008: 2 Brandywines, 2 yellow tomatoes
2009: 1 Brandywine, 1 zebra, all others not fruiting
2010: tomato plants staying green but not fruiting, except for about 9 Sun Golds the size of marbles
When Lucy was one, I posted this picture:
…and now we haven’t had any oranges in two years. Inside, the house has gotten darker and colder, even on days with full sun. Mold starting growing on the birdfeeders. After trying vaguely time-lapse pictures like this in July…
8am, 10am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm
…I realized the culprit. It’s name is the Monterey Cypress:
…and the guy across the street has about eight of them. When we moved in, they were only 15 feet high, but now they are about FIFTY feet high. By August, the yard was in shade by 1pm, and by November, most of our house was plunged into daytime blackness.
I called him and asked him about trimming and “topping” – and he was very nice about it – but those particular trees are native to a tiny, ancient forest in Northern California and are now worth about $60,000. And if you “top” them, they don’t survive.
I could have invited a horticulturist or an arborist over for solutions, or made myself a terrific nuisance, but you know what? We need more space, and we’ve been here five years. Tessa wanted a fresh start in a sunny, airy, beautiful craftsman, and we found one close by to rent.
What’s more boring than real estate stories? Well, hearing about somebody’s nighttime dreams, for starts. Also cricket scores, shopping for linens, being sick, and Wisconsin basketball. But it’s still pretty boring, except for this: it’s not always bad to offer a little surrender when the change can do you good. On rare occasions, it’s okay to uproot a little bit so a family of trees don’t have to.