When we surveyed our pond one spring, we found that out of all our original goldfish, only Rosie was left. The fancy ones, Sully and Margaret, Swishy, Paris, and Face -- a Great Egret had been raiding our front yard and had eaten all our named fish.
A couple friends donated their goldfish to us, and our old crew had had some babies, so we had plenty in the pond once again. Alex turned to me as we watched them and said, "This time, don't name them, please."
I never have named the fish again, either. They are all singly or as a school, "Fish." They come and they go; raccoons and egrets and cats take them as they can, and babies are born, dark and tiny, growing into orange delightful swirls.
This picture is of the podocarpus gracilior that shaded the south side of our house.
Yes. Past tense.
We have a rat (or two) in our attic this year, and after lengthy arguments for months with the pest control company rep, in which I refused to cut this tree down because it shaded so much of the house from the fierce summer sun, I walked down the narrow side "yard" and had a look at where rats might be entering the house, and a closer look at the tree.
Suddenly rats weren't really the focus of my concern. Where two other fern pines (that's the podocarpus) had been planted at the same time off the back patio, the trunks were about six inches in diameter. For whatever reason, this creature's waist was more than sixteen. It was poised and ready to take out the fence, and indeed, had already knocked off a couple roof tiles. Lush and beautiful as it was, rat or no rat, it had to go.
Last night, after the tree guy had given his estimate, I went out and took a pic of the tree, and got a bit teary. I love all my trees very much. This morning, when I walked out onto the street to see the result (the tree cutters arrived at 7:15 am) after it was gone, it was horrible, like Sherman's march to the sea. A desert. A wasteland. A bald-faced side of the house.
The view is now horrible from the inside of the house, too. A big bay window looks out on ... fence. No foliage, no birds playing in the evergreen branches, just boards.
We're leaning towards a few nandina in that area, to make a graceful foliar display year round, but I will always miss this ... Tree.