May 17, 2016
Winter damages many plants, leaving gardeners to prune dead branches. Without such attention, the rot can infiltrate, and the entire plant might die. One fine day last week, I attended to some of my perennials, cutting stalks until I reached the green quick.
When I moved to this doll’s house, I planted a hydrangea. It bloomed pink among fuchsia-bright rhododendrons. The year I gave birth to my littlest son, it bloomed blue. I know the soil PH determines the color of hydrangea’s blooms, but in my sentimental state, I interpreted the changed color as the yard welcoming my little boy to his new home.
The hydrangea sustained tremendous damage from the fickle winter. To save the plant, I employed merciless measures with shears. I feared I’d lost the whole plant, but as I cut away the brittle branches, signs of life emerged. Green leaves unfurled like victorious flags, signs of triumph and hope.
So often in life, I worry over what dies away. I cling to dead branches without realizing their impact on my whole, and when the time comes when at last they must be pruned from my life, I agonize. Can some be salvaged? Is there life left deep within?
My metaphor is personal, yet universal. For some, the damaged branches of their life manifest as hateful people whose insidious influences poison their souls. However, I am my own worst enemy. Doubts nag. Inner critics warn I’m not good enough and despite all my efforts, I never will amount to much. A lump impedes my ability to swallow back tears, so I take clippers to my negativity. With pitiless precision, I sculpt and redefine my outlook. Needy as a rose, my emotions frequently require effort, and yet I maintain that tended flowers bloom best.
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