Dead Wood…

I perfected the fine art of eye rolling when I was thirteen. So charming.  I’m guessing I came to this expression in response to something my father said when I thought I knew way more than he about the world and that he was purposefully trying to work my nerves. Since that time when I’m annoyed, it’s my fall-back look.

I was in full eye-roll mode last week when my letter to all of you grand folk was stuck in “draft” mode on my website keeping you from the rest of the story. I generally do not like teasing so I do apologize. Hopefully this week’s read will come around just fine. One would think that after publishing 150 or so of these “good morning’s” I would have a handle on it. Not.

Last week my lawn man called and asked if I wanted his crewmen to “cut back” the branches of some trees that were hanging over the municipal walkway. He said, “You know how people are; something is in their way and they get all worked-up. Just trying to keep you from any trouble.” “No thanks,” I replied, “I’ll take care of it over the weekend. We’ve had a lot of rain and the limbs are hanging low from all the water.” I hung up and rolled my eyes.

I get that he wants to give his crewmen extra work whenever he can. However: the last time he offered to help me out with some “cut backs” the Lilac bush was cut down entirely and the Cranberry Viburnum looked dreadful, a raw, cut stump of a branch protruding into my sight-line just inside the gate, hacked-off without any aesthetic consideration. Not the kind of garden welcome I want after a long work day. I admit to feeling weak at the time I agreed to have him do some cutting, just prior to my major hip surgery and obviously not thinking clearly. (Aside: my sister and I went to a Women’s Conference a few weeks ago. In the “get warmed up to the event” ice breaker the moderator said, “Please stand if you can answer ‘yes’ to the following: Who has cut her own hair?” Several hundred gals stood up. Then the moderator asked, “How many of you were happy with the outcome?” Only about three gals remained standing. Lots of laughs. Best to leave the cutting to the pro’s. Pro’s who really know what they are doing. You might be the pro–or maybe someone else. Point is: cutting is a big deal.)

Back to the story… On Sunday afternoon last I went out to address said ‘limbs into the sidewalk area,” first to the Tupelo tree, since it had the most drooping branches. Here’s what is important to know: when there are low-hanging branches, if you cut just some of of the lowest limbs, the excess weight removed will allow the rest of the branch to spring upward–free. In other words, you might not have to cut off as much as you think if you start at the bottom and with just a few cuts to freedom.  After working on the Tupelo tree, I moved over to the Bayberry shrubs  and continued work. I found many dead and dry branches and I admit it felt quite good to remove them.

With each cut I made –some twigs even breaking free by way of my hand alone without a tool–I myself felt lighter. Less burdened by all that stuff. Free. My view less obstructed. Light streamed through. All it took was a few minutes of attention to what was in the way. I thought of other things in life that left ignored will weigh me down and are best cut off, like the dead wood. And these are things for me to tend to, not anyone else, regardless of their good intentions to help. Things like old painful thoughts; clothes in my closet that don’t fit properly and only make me judge myself for my size;  attachments to things that no longer serve.

Suddenly I felt very warm and I peeled off my jacket.

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