Thursday, July 17, 2014

I Have A Yard

In my yard, there is a tree.

The sun has come out these past few months and both Alasse and I have fallen in love. I have some lovely flowering trees. I would love to sound incredibly knowledgeable about my plants, but you would all see through me. So I admit, I didn't know what they were. Dogwood I thought. Yes, I have six dogwood trees. Anyways, the most important thing was that they are mine. I don’t think Alasse cares too much about the trees. She pees on them occasionally.

Several months later I discovered that my "dogwood trees" were producing fruit. Cherries, must be cherries. I was excited for a few weeks. Very excited. Free fruit! A few more weeks passed, and something seemed fishy. I actually did some research. Ornamental plums. Ornamental plums are messy. Blossoms? Good. Lovely leafy foliage? Good. Two inches of rotting fruit? Bad.

But enough about that.

I have grass too!

The grass has just now started to really grow. I love it, my grass, even if it is a bit patchy. The patchiness, that’s Alasse’s fault. She is the most expressive fetch payer in dog history, and loves to skid across the yard while in pursuit of a tennis ball. It doesn't look too bad if you look at if form an angle.

I also have a bit of a jungle. I own that too. Some evergreen business, lots of bushes. It’s all overgrown and wild looking. I like that. I’m embracing the wild. I could be wild.

And there is the tree. I have a beautiful old Silver Maple. They told me it is old, diseased. It has hollow limbs. On several different times in the past, it was topped. It carried on, but in the wrong way. They told me the trunk to width ration is all wrong. The hollow limbs are at risk of falling. The weight of new growth could pull it down. I own it, it is my responsibility.

There is a hole in the trunk. The winter filled it with water, and by the time spring dawned, it was teaming with mosquito larva.

I don’t know how old it is. A hundred years? Maybe more. I am so young in comparison, and yet, I own the tree. And that seems backwards. But what if it fell on my house, the neighbors house? It could crush a child. That cannot happen. The tree must be dealt with. But who am I to end a hundred year life?

I waited. I didn't know anything about trees, as a responsible homeowner, I probably should have listened. I'm not trying to condone unsafe tree-keeping practices here, but I waited, and everything turned out alright.

My Silver Maple did just fine. There was a bit of a late start, but then it was covered in brilliant green, healthy foliage. I had it looked at again. Turns out the damage previously detected was mostly superficial. It will need a good trimming in the fall, but it will be fine. A happy ending. They tell me it has another good 30-50 years.

And isn't that what we all hope for?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Place of the Turtles

"Green Sea Turtle in Flight"  Prints Available here

Green Sea Turtles are a bit like cows. Sea cows. Cows of the sea.  I have had several wonderful occasions to observe them over the years, but have never had quite the experience that I did at Akumal. Akumal beach, in the Yucat√°n, is a habitat for the endangered green sea turtle. In Mayan, Akumal means “the place of the turtles.” And the place of the turtles it is indeed.

There is no scuba diving allowed at Akumal, which is why, initially, I wasn’t very excited about it. I wanted to be down there with the turtles, not snorkeling above them. But I can be an idiot sometimes. Above or below, it was hands down the best sea turtle encounter I’ve had as of yet. For one, the bay is very shallow- 2-10 feet at most, so even with a snorkel I was right there. And there were just so many turtles- in an hour I saw 20, maybe thirty.

They were not curious about me in the least. Since Akumal is a habitat, they see people all the time, who never do them any harm. I on the other hand, was very curious about them and followed them around like a deranged fan with a Polaroid camera. They munched on the sea grass. Very cute, the munching. These were juveniles I was observing, nowhere near the size of their 700 pound parents.

I was lucky to catch a few waiting at cleaning stations- yes, waiting. It was… Amazing. The cleaning stations, and the whole experience. For those traveling to the Yucatan, I would highly recommend it as a stop. It’s just about an hour drive from Playa Del Carmen, and car rentals are relatively painless.