by Molly Jo Realy @MollyJoRealy
Those of you who really know me, know I’m all about literature and Victorian era stories like Little Women and times when houses were more than homes, they were entities of their own, with their own personalities and characteristics.
When I moved into my house, I christened it Bedford Manor for a variety of reasons, but mostly because Bedford Falls was the epitome of family life in Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life”; that magical place where ordinary life is the best life there is.
My house was everything I prayed for: fenced, landscaped (sans grass), garage, indoor laundry room, quiet neighborhood, close to friends and family. It’s (almost) just like the house I grew up in; the floorplan is the same with two exceptions: 1. It’s reversed so my garage is on the right, my mom’s garage is on the left; and 2. I have a door from the garage directly into my dining/kitchen area.
I love that door. I can pull up into my garage, close it, and still have access to my house. It makes me feel safe in the dark. It keeps me dry in the rain. I love that door. I love the tiny six inch step down I have to take to get from house to car each day. I love stepping onto the concrete in my bare feet when I’m looking for something special in the overstock food cabinet. I just love that door.
I love my front yard. I haven’t enjoyed my backyard too much since it’s still full of ant hills and overgrown trees. The wind piles leafy debris on the porch. But soon I’ll have all that managed, and the back patio will be my screened-in retreat.
This summer belonged to the front yard. I potted herbs and ivy. Planned out a Spanish Patio area to enjoy a morning Bistro. Trimmed the trees. And trimmed the trees. And trimmed the trees.
Mulberries grow ridiculously fast. And they don’t really change color with the desert seasons like some other trees do. Some leaves turn yellow, but mostly they just dry up and in one good wind, drop. I
have three big trees in my front yard. had. Had three big trees in my front yard.
Yesterday, my landscaper came and chopped the biggest one down. I thought I might be sad. Certainly at first I felt a twinge of guilt: I had prayed for trees and landscaping. And here it is, two years later to the date I found Bedford Manor, and I’m responsible for killing some of it’s beauty.
But even though the tree was big and full and powerful and beautiful… that wasn’t enough to keep it. Because it was also overgrown, high maintenance, and almost dangerous. I’ve trimmed it three times myself this summer, and it still continued to grow over the driveway. I likened it at times to driving through Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise with the long green branches beckoning my car into its cavelike vines. It blocked too much view, it cast too much shade and not enough sun.
Now with the tree gone, I can see the road better. The sun reaches my front alcove a little more, which gives me hope that my potted garden will fare just a little better. My living room certainly is much brighter. I’ll enjoy my alcove more and sweep it less.
I’m a creature of habit. Those who know me intimately, know I’m opposed to change. I don’t “go with the flow” (although I’m better at it now than I used to be). So to cut down the biggest tree on my property, it was a very serious mental undertaking.
And I couldn’t be happier.
It just goes to show, even the happiest, longest lasting roots can change and make way for something even better, healthier, more fulfilling. The tree is no longer there. But now I can wave good morning to my neighbors instead of hiding. The shade is no longer there. But now I can get some original Vitamin D more often than I used to. There are other trees for the birds to nest in, other shrubs to add greenery to my yard. And now, there’s an open canvas for me to plot and plant other growth.
Cutting down my biggest tree, I am finding, is giving way to some pretty big ideas. Ideas I wouldn’t have if I’d just kept things the way they were and resisted change.
So, you see? Change isn’t always bad. It isn’t always good, either. Change is just change. But it’s always there. It’s what you do with it that matters.