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It’s that time of year. Spring is shaking off the quilt of winter, and especially in the south, the signs are everywhere – buds emerging, lightning bugs in the soft evening light, and the droning of lawnmowers, clippers and weeders.

perfectyetThose who’ve spent the last four months complaining about the cold are at last vindicated with something new to complain about. Already, the local markets are overflowing with customers seeking a quick remedy for weeds, bugs and moles. Add in all the new prescriptions being written for allergy meds, and only a fool would be oblivious to the page turning.

But back to the post. Ahhh, yes. Each year, I am filled with anguish as my forsythia bush is clipped, and my redbud tree trimmed. Various other bushes and trees are not exempt. Only those who have suffered near death are spared the pruning that spring seems to necessitate.

And every year, I express my weariness with the process. It seems wholly unnatural to me, for I cannot recall a single instance of such in my childhood, one spent much closer to the trees, plants and weeds than I am now. Part of my problem is my understanding that all these are extensions of us, connected to us. When given dominion, I’m not sure that meant authorization to change that which seems to work quite well without any assistance.

It also reminds me of society’s innate desire to put everyone in the same box, even if that means lopping off what doesn’t fit, or that which might be less appealing. As if somehow we are more perfect without our flaws. As if a dogwood needed directions to know where to grow a branch or blossom. The truth is that we’re less perfect when we spend untold energy and expense trying to look like everyone else, to be like anyone other than ourselves. Our flaws are what make us uniquely beautiful, our scars but proof that we’ve lived (that we’ve loved).

surelythisMy favorite tree – the redbud that leans into the driveway, but remembers a place in the woods. My favorite bush – the forsythia that ignores the clipping and seems to double in size overnight – with arms swaying in the morning light, ‘look at me, look at me’.

Pruning seems painful and honestly, a waste of good sunlight. I grew up in a home with two basic rules. If it grows, you let it. And, if shows up on your porch in the middle of the night, you love it.

come these hands
as fertile ground
these eyes –
an eager sun
were guarded
by a swollen heart
to shade

the arms
of birch and maple
pressed between
the pines –
as shelter to the babies

of dark
wherein the blue spruce glows
beneath the night’s
– blossom sleeps
beside the tender blade

morning wakes in colors
a poet cannot tell
where breath became
a promise
of heaven here
was made

. . .