Sunday, January 7, 2007

The Big Mountain outside the window

One of the first projects we undertook at the ranch was removing a massive Hollywood juniper, the Hindu Godzilla of patio trees. Its arms were spread out in front of the kitchen window as if the tree was guarding some celestial basketball hoop, so looking out of the window, day or night, was really just gazing at its deep forest green-black navel. It was a mesmerizing, menacing, and doomed tree.

Cutting down the tree was a huge project, and we didn't finish until after sunset. Standing at the kitchen sink, gazing into the familiar darkness, I noticed a light to the north, an unusual but not unheard of approach for airplanes coming into Santa Barbara.
The next morning, we woke up and staggered toward the coffee maker to discover mountain views. Gorgeous, cloud-capped mountains. And on the patio, a branch-strewn battleground and the thick stump of the conquered tree.

One of our missions at the ranch is to grow as much of our own food as we can. Strictly speaking, the juniper was replaced by a navel orange, two types of tangerine, a Meyer lemon, and a blueberry bush. But it was also replaced by the ridge of mountains, this reminder of all we are striving toward, literal and symbolic summits ahead of us.

1 comment:

George said...

It's good to grow your own edibles, but can you get juniper berries from a Hollywood juniper? If so, you are well on your way to homemade gin.