Sunday, February 7, 2010

Dad and Thorns

My skin stings with fresh wounds from rose bush thorns. I reach far into the nest of diseased branches and dead spiny stalks to a wily green branch and find a new nub of growth. I cut 1/4" above that nub, slanted, just like the online pruning guide recommends and pray that that is the RIGHT place to cut for glorious growth in the spring.

That reminds me of my father pruning at my childhood home in Connecticut. Every year he would go out armed with clippers and a chain saw and unleash what I saw as vicious cruelty upon the trees and bushes on our lush green 100 acre wooded property. The main 15 acre landscape was dotted with pear, apple, plum and cherry trees and he would cut down the branches to a naked skeleton.

This was wrong to me. As a child I was angry with him. I took the side of the tree, wanting them to grow wild and free, unfettered from how my father wanted them to be.
I had the same resentment for him when he told us to go to bed, deny us from playing before we completed our chores, or told me I could not get a drivers license at 16. I just wanted to grow as I wanted.

Today, as I cut the rosebush back in Southern California, I can now see the opportunity for new growth that I am creating. The energy of the plant needs no longer to go to sustaining an old branch. In the spring a new branch will grow from that nub or a new shoot entirely, and create a gorgeous rose that will become nectar for birds and insects. By cutting back old growth, we create new.

As I grow my business, cutting back in areas that are not blooming, I give more energy to the areas that are and I look forward to the new opportunity that will spring forth. It may seem harsh at first, but it is simpler, cleaner, fertile and focused.

As my children grow, we guide them to cut back on behaviors that no longer work for them. My eldest finally got up in the middle of the night to pee last night, my youngest is naturally beginning to wean. From the absence of those previous behaviors shall spring forth a new way of being that I can hardly wait to get to know.
Thank you Dad for pruning, for guiding us. I know now the love and commitment to nature that lies deep within your roots and mine.

Zen LaBossiere Honeycutt

As I pruned the bushes my 15 mnth old toddler wanted to imitate me. Daddy gave him a safer tool, a hole punch, and this is where he put it.

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