Ay Caramba! Jacaranda!
Appreciate Your Trees, People!
Claimed under Orange County's only Spanish land grant in 1810, my family lives in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Orange County. My family settled in Santa Ana in the late 1800s and that makes us - by California standards only - really, really unusual. Except in our neighborhood, it's really not that unusual.
We live in an overwhelmingly Mexican and Mexican-American neighborhood and many of the families (including mine) are related or have known each other for generations. It's a neighborhood in which great-grandparents from Mexico live in the same house with their hipster great-grandkids. There is a surprising mix of broken-down primered-out old turquoise (always, always turquoise) Chevy trucks from the 1950s and late-model BMW's.
But one of my favorite, favorite things about my neighborhood is how lush it is. Most of the ornamental trees, fruit trees, and cacti were planted decades and decades ago and are still going strong. Most of Orange County is so newly developed that the trees haven't had time to mature, and so you see a lot of fast-growing palm trees and a lot of grasses. It's nice, but not as nice as this:
One of the prettiest streets I’ve ever seen is Maple Street in Santa Ana. Just look at those jacarandas! Is there anything prettier than those clouds of purple blossoms? It wasn’t until my husband's first PCS to RAF Mildenhall that I realized that jacarandas weren’t an everywhere tree - I actually asked where we could see some, and the locals just stared at me in confusion. When I tried to explain *using words* what a jacaranda was (this was pre-iPhone) the closest anyone could suggest was a cherry tree. For my part, I had never seen a cherry tree so all I could suggest was a jacaranda.
Anyway, now that I’m visiting the family during TDY time, I am going out of my way to take the time to appreciate these gorgeous blooms, and to constantly remind my kids to stop bickering because "it's time to appreciate jacarandas."
"Aren't we lucky?" I mutter through gritted teeth as one kicks the other's shoe.
"SOOOO lucky," they reply as they roll their eyes.
I just can’t get enough of how beautiful Southern California is, how much I overlooked it as a kid...and how expensive it is for people to live here!
Is this view worth eating canned tuna twice a day? Maybe, for me - I love tuna sandwiches - at least for these few days a year!