Saturday, August 04, 2007

You Can’t Have It Both Ways

About an hour ago an email arrived from my brother, who was due to leave the house for Sweden in an hour, detailing a bill I’d just received there for mowing on Orcas Island. Ian and I had discussed mowing with our southern neighbor before we left town in April, and asked that, when she had her piece mowed, she get in touch with us because maybe we’d have the guy mow ours as well. I’m not sure if we detailed with her exactly which part of our land we wanted to have mowed; it probably didn’t occur to us to worry about it, because all evidence pointed only to the southern parts having been mowed for, oh, at least 10 years.

Unfortunately, we should’ve been more detailed. The bill includes not only mowing the southern part, but also north pasture, which we’d decided to leave fallow for the next few years, and chipping all the young Douglas firs and alders in the middle of it. This is what makes me sad. I had been planning on cutting our first Christmas tree from that herd of firs, and I was also rejoicing that, in 20 or 30 years, we’d actually have some trees in addition to 30 acres of grassland. Not only that; mowing all that rough pasture and chipping all those trees was expensive, to the tune of a shocking number of nights on the road, even in Sweden.

No one’s to blame, of course. Our neighbor to the south honestly thought she knew what we wanted, and the man who did the mowing did the best he could. I suppose our laissez-faire attitude about land being able to take care of itself was to blame as much as anything, so we’ll pay the bill, meet the mower, and make sure we speak to him directly in the future.

Besides, trees grow back, and some number of years from now when we do have a house there and need a Christmas tree, it may not be the soaring 8 feet I was hoping for, but we’ll probably be able to find something to put on a tabletop.

But there you have it—a nomadic life may seem like a life of freedom, but there are costs to being an adult and owning things. Not only financial costs, but many, many niggling little details of bills and issues and whatnot, the large majority of which my brother has dealt with directly in order to make our lives easier.

Thank you, Deane, so much.

1 comment:

KateMV said...

Oh no! That's so sad.