The day started out proactively—and very much not in the spirit of improv theater, an art form I have chosen to dedicate a good portion of my life to. See, Dixie and I, aka The Fun Institute, had to plan out next year’s schedule. Much as it goes against our nature to plan so far ahead, it’s a must do. It’s the only way we can assure we’ll have a place to teach. Small black box theaters like Santa Cruz’s Broadway Playhouse are in high demand in this creative town. But thinking so far ahead—Sheesh!—it makes my brain hurt.

But we did it! (Yay!) Then decided we needed to move onto a project that wasn’t quite so cerebral. We chose another herculean task, this one quite sad. We began hacking down our beloved orange tree, the tree that for years has produced the sweetest Navel oranges known to humankind. I mean it. Popping a refrigerated, cut-up morsel of one of these succulent oranges was like popping a tasty jewel in your mouth. Just ask the folks in my writing salon!

Even the squirrels are going to miss it.

So why chop it down? Well, it was struggling. After years of drought, the water table is just too low to sustain its bounty. The large juicy oranges we are used to harvesting come Christmas have turned into tiny green ankle-twisters that cover the cement below, the branches themselves struggling just to produce leaves. The trend began two years ago and it’s only getting worse. So down it comes.

Thank you tree!  We’re sad to see you go!

Dixie choosing the next limb

Fortunately, Dixie has all the right tools for such a job: trusty tiger saw, ladder, and trailer to haul it to the dump. Me? I’m working ground crew, cleaning up the limbs with loppers so they fit into the trailer, and sometimes holding a rope (tied to a limb) and yanking just as it starts to fall so the heavy limb doesn’t take out an awning or a rose bush.

Losing the tree is going to change things around here. For one, we’re going to have more light in the kitchen. (Nice!) And I’m going to have to start buying oranges. (Sigh.) But it’s going to change more than that, and not just for us. Our peace rose is going to get more sunlight. It produces stunning pale yellow roses tipped in pale pink. I really hope it doesn’t burn. If it does, the cricket that likes to hang out inside the prettiest of its blossoms is going to have to find a new home.

Our trusty trailer

Change. It happens. Always. But this climate change is happening fast. So many fires here in California. And now hurricane season has begun battering the east coast.

Are we nuts, any of us, to think we can plan ahead with accuracy? Pretty much, methinks. Who knows what the future will bring? Still, we try. That we have some control over the future is a nice fantasy. And so we make our plans for 2019, never forgetting that little cricket whose world has gone topsy turvy over night.

Over and out. And remember, Live the Love. It’s all we’ve got!