Thursday, November 02, 2006

pruning back

I'm not much of a gardener. In fact, today I threw the last remaining houseplant, the one that had somehow survived our alternate smothering and starving for all the years in Seattle before finally giving up the ghost this week, into the yard waste bucket.

Since I can't even keep one hardy house plant alive, you can imagine that I dont know much about what to do in the garden. And to tell you the truth, the garden here doesn't require as much as you'd think. It's a big jungly mess, which somehow works as part of the Pacific Northwest aesthetic. Still, every now and again, on a sunny day, I get out the big pruning sheers and whack everything back.

My sporadic fits of pruning always throw Jeff into a mild panic, and I can't actually say I blame him. "What if it doesn't come back?" he'll worry. Then, a few weeks later, "Well, I guess you really killed it this time." Depending on how I'm feeling, I either nod gently or sigh with exasperation, "You're a BUDDHIST, remember? Impermanence of form and all that..."

I'm pruning back these days, and not just in the garden. It's so hard to have faith that if old things are cleared away, they'll either come back bigger and better or new ones will grow up. It's counter-intuitive and risky. It's hard to believe that growing things have to lie fallow before they can grow, that those bare twigs will yield flowers, and that which once was green will be green again.

It's hard to believe it, but you gotta, don't you? I sure do.

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