The demolition of the back yard at Casa Beija-flor has begun. The landscaping crew was there yesterday to begin hauling away shrubs, patio cover, and bricks. They’re also breaking up the old concrete and demolishing the infamous tool shed. I removed the few garden tools I plan to keep and hauled away two large boxes of toxic chemicals. The crew will take whatever is left — mostly rotting pieces of various kinds of wood.

As I was standing in the garden last week with the landscaper and his crew foreman, discussing what was to be removed and what was to keep, I did feel a sense of melancholy. It is another step toward moving away from it being my mom’s house and garden to being my house and garden. At one point I looked up to something moving in the lemon tree above my head and there, perched quietly, was a hummingbird (aka, beija-flor). It could be magical thinking, but it gave me comfort that now is the right time for this next step.

It’s more than just a landscaping project. It’s a reclaiming, of sorts. Literally and figuratively, putting my stake in the ground.


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