Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Winter Pruning


"They say you should prune your roses as if they belonged to your enemy" writes author Maggie Dawn. I think I did. I had let the back rose go for two years so it certainly had it coming, but the fury of my pruning frenzy was also unleashed on the unsuspecting front bushes who had had their haircut every year since I planted them. Perhaps I let the back one go because it wasn't as visible. Ah, so shortsighted of me, or perhaps just lazy. But now, the little bare nubs bear witness that pruning has been done. 

My backyard cleansing led to a personal pruning that included thoughts I had let fester and almost rot in the back of my mind. The putrifying leaves under the old branches of the bush were a mirror image of the things I'd kept in my mind that really were just not fresh and healthy. If you must know, there were whispers like, "The young people no longer need me." and "The world is going downhell, (oops, that is 'downhill'-so Freudian of me) and I cannot be a part of the solution." It spread to my closet, where I threw out everything I didn't really like, or had to force myself to wear. There was a considerable amount of clothing. But now, when I stand in my closet, I only see things I want to wear, and even if the choices are fewer, they are attractive. I've been able to keep up with the washing as well, as there is now less to wash. 

Nature tells us to prune, if we will listen to her. Every year leaves fall from trees no matter what. The bare branches make it easier to take stock of what is essential. Stuff can be so cluttery, and we hang on to it so psychotically, as if it is a part of our souls. Or perhaps as if when the stuff is gone, our souls will be seen, bare and exposed to the world, like my naked roses, out in front of God and everybody. 

Painful at first, pruning is cathartic, cleansing, and promotes new growth. The discarding of the old makes way for the new. What have you pruned lately?

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