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Ready for re-evaluation and improvement

Steve Kawaratani

“Again the shadow moveth o’er the dial-plate of time.”

-- John Greenleaf Whittier

“Holidays: further from nature, nearer to artifice, to


abstraction, to total pollution, to well above average levels of

stress, pressure, concentration and monotony.”

-- Jean Baudrillard

Time has a way of passing -- marked this week by the fallen leaf,


searing sunsets and the rain. Fall has dissolved into winter, but

hardly noted or noticed in Laguna. Our home is a work in progress,

but has been honored by visits from family and friends. The garden is

undone, but ideas abound.

“Are you OK?” my friend asked. “Holidays are a lonely time,” went


Baja is beckoning again -- Catharine and I knew we wanted to

return as early as last January. Good friends, Mike, Emma, James and


Lynn, will reprise last year’s adventure. No story poles down south,

only ample time to loiter and unwind and kayak. Birds and cacti will

be awaiting me, along with the opportunity to make personal


I will muse occasionally about gardening -- our favorite pastime

is magical for many, because it allows our creative side to shine.

Rather than waiting to garden because I require therapy, this coming

year I resolve to enjoy my garden a square foot at a time. Fallow


space will evolve into a cohesive landscape. Stay tuned.

I will dream about my late father, Pete, who always espoused the

virtues of planting natives and perennials. I will keep my designs

simple and not over water my garden. I won’t forget the occasional

medicinal toast to his memory.

I will remember that while change may be good, what is best of our

town must be preserved. Reasonable homes and landscapes will always

respect our hillsides and neighbor’s views. I will simply ask that we

maximize everyone’s enjoyment of living in Laguna.

I will spend more time with Rousseau, Tiger and Oliver. Although

aging more gracefully than myself, enjoying catnip tea with my

friends won’t last forever. I promise to keep the litter box cleaner,


I will strive to be more productive and reliable, and show respect

for my time. I will listen more carefully to those who know me best,

particularly Catharine, Suzanne and David. Unspoken, to inch closer

to my potential.

After the champagne and skyrockets, the year will come to a close.

I will hold my wife and bask in her warmth and make one final wish.

Sorry, but I can’t share it with you. Happy New Year and see you next


* STEVE KAWARATANI is the owner of Landscapes by Laguna Nursery,

1540 S. Coast Highway in Laguna Beach. He is married to local artist,

Catharine Cooper, and has three cats. He can be reached at (949)

497-2438, or e-mail to