Time For Trimming

Time For Trimming

It’s a gorgeous, sunny, lightly-breezy day here, and I zipped through my morning work and workout so I could be outside. The children were settled in playing with Lucia in Budapest or working on other projects, Buddie was in a morning filled with meetings, and I was needed by no one.

The hedge that grows next to our stairs leading from the driveway to the backyard had grown so much it crowded the stairs, so it was first on my agenda.

I took a different approach with it than in previous years. Given this gift of time and distance and silence that we are all processing our way through, I decided to trim gently and slowly. Choosing each branch that needed to be snipped.

In previous years, the hedge was an annoyance. It was a battle to smack it back, using the electric hedge trimmers. Buds or I would give it an aggressive haircut so that we wouldn’t have to mess with it but once a season. Then the annoyance of sweeping up and disposing of the trimmings. Gah! It was just a pain.

Last year, after aggressively trimming it back, many of the leaves had a white fungus on them that looked unsightly and diseased. It didn’t look healthy or happy despite its size.

Today was a revelation. A relaxing haircut of individual branches. Taking it back just enough to not encroach on the stairs, but not considering it a job that I loathed and wanted a “one-and-done” approach with. I coaxed it back into its boundaries. And I also had to consider the other people who used the stairs. I had to trim up high for the taller folks in the crowd, and consider those little people who might wander their way up the steps.

Some of the white fungus branches are still there, but they are surrounded with the healthy green of their kin. I snipped them off where I could, and left the glorious bounty of growth to support them where I couldn’t.

It was a joy.

Then I moved on to the next bush I’ve battled with in the past.

Again, I had a new approach.

Buddie shared a comment from a co-worker a few weeks ago.

“I have been studying niwaki and pruning in general for a while and this winter finally decided to do a heavy prune on the 3 bushes in front of my window. They look like crap now lol but it’s about setting the structure up for a better shape in the future. But anyways, one of the things you are trying to achieve is different layers with negative space in between, and one of the people whose stuff I have been watching is always saying “make it so that a bird can fly in between the layers.” Yesterday there were 3 different birds hanging out on the holly bush, which never happened before because it was too dense…”

I asked Buddie if he would ask David for pictures, but they’ve had a few other things to focus their attention on, so I’d been rolling ideas around in my head.

Then I saw a bush that made it clear for me.

From a friend’s neighborhood.

That was my lightbulb moment.

So out I went to deal with a previously unloved, now loved bush.

Time flew as I tended to the haircut for this delightful critter. It was such a joy to do this work with a new vision in mind.

Now it looks so delicate, yet welcoming. A friendly place for a bird or a chipmunk to find a moment of respite beneath its leaves.

We’ve got pine straw ordered and the beginnings of our veggie garden space in the works. So many ideas and this beautiful sunlight to bask in.

I’ve never truly understood this idea of “living in the moment” as profoundly as I did this morning.

I’m grateful in a new way.