This morning the ground shimmered, wet in hazy sunbeams straining through misty air. Home within pressing warmth I gazed outside at rich cherry wood tickled by emerging white blossoms. My sight scattered over a jagged overlapping network of branches, confusion laid bare in wintry nudes. I saw twigs fall to the ground, severed. Limbs stretched into openness, unbound.
It was time.
Shears in hand, I pressed and cut, scored and snapped until the cherry tree yawned outward unfettered, sparkling raindrops dripping from jeweled branches. After slow dancing with pear and apricot trees, the roses were last.
Though the roses were still modestly dressed with foliage I sought the deep red clusters of explosive new growth, clearing a path for them. Eventually, with five or six fragrant blooms in hand and a bushel of shorn branches littering the yard, I had progressed enough to finish. Over the next few days, as my eyes adjust to the new reality, more pruning will be done.
As I filled a glass with water for the bouquet of yellow and white roses, I thought about how grateful I am for pruning season.
Pruning season is when the environment has eliminated distraction, clutter, cover, and hindrance so the bones of a thing are revealed. With all the noise stripped away you can clearly see where something that should be free to grow will be blocked by something else in its path, or will strangle it with closeness. With the promise of fruitful growth in mind, everything that stands in the way is quickly shed.
I thought about how fortunate we are to have the tools for the season:
Understanding what healthy growth looks like, and recognizing the potential of new growth provides the blueprint for making the right cuts. Having the pruning shears to make the cut where it is needed allows the process to not only happen easily, but safely.
Without the proper understanding of how a tree should grow, or what beginning fruit may look like, a pruning process can be destructive instead of yielding release and freedom. Without the right shears to cut branches of different weight and size, a simple cut may require exhaustive sawing action or score-cuts with dangerous implications.
Every life can benefit from lovingly and intentionally removing unnecessary hindrances to growth and fruitfulness with sound guidance, in the right environment, with the proper tools.
This morning I cut away branches, twigs and leaves because ultimately, I could see they were either creating imbalance, growing into something else, or dying. In a garden, leaving plants to grow wild can make plants gnarly, sick, or unable to yield fruit.
In our lives, unnecessary hindrances growing wild can have the same effect: Complicating and stunting our growth, festering emotional or physical illness, or failing to be productive and creative.
When was the last time you looked at eliminating unnecessary hindrances in your life, such as:
- Gnarly Relationships: Healing and resolving unhealthy entanglements can breathe new life into you and your relationships with yourself, spouse, family, friends, strangers, etc.
- Sick Habits: Choosing to nourish and build from within, your mind body and soul by resetting new, good-for-you habits in the way you eat, drink, spend, play, relax, exercise, worship, rest, create, communicate, work, think, etc.
- Not Yielding Fruit: Uprooting factors that interfere with a productive, joy-filled, purposeful life by breaking down and cutting out self-sabotaging expectations so your world is a fruitful environment for you to thrive.
If it’s hard to see these things clearly, it may be time for a self-imposed winter to get rid of leaves and clutter.
Choose to give some things up.
Choose the right removal tools so nothing is in the way of the vision for your growth, your success, your fruit.