I’m looking out the window of my office as I write. Across the street is a guy with a hedge trimmer. He’s brutally chopping off the top of the bushes cowering the the corners of the fence. He just picked up loppers and is on his knees, hacking away at the base of a tree.
But that’s nothing compared to the destruction in front of our house when I went home earlier. The roses were leveled. Tall stems, higher than I, piled on the ground. The plants themselves buried, protecting themselves with a thin layer of mulch.
Spring is a brutal time.
Of course, in June when I look across the street, I will note how strong the tree looks, free of suckers around the base. And the bushes will perfectly fill in the white fence. And the roses, the roses will be clearly visible, not hidden at all behind dead stalks.
Jesus walks with his disciples through a vineyard, in the dusk, after supper, hours before he dies. He talks about pruning. He talks about the process of trimming away what will eventually hinder growth. He says that pruning is a good thing. When the pruning happens, I’m not sure the plant would agree. Or that’s what I’ve often thought. Pruning hurts, right?
But when I look at the work Nancy did with the roses today, I realize that there is a sense of relief. No need to support the branches that will no longer flower. It was good, but now is a burden.
It makes me think. What dead branches could I lose? What reputation can be released? What busyness is sucking away life? What seeming independence is merely lack of direction and discipline? Am I willing to actually invite pruning by a gardener with millenia of experience?