Saturday, June 21, 2008

breathing space

Today I worked in the yard with a friend's help. This was our exercise for today - instead of another hill climb or tackling stairs, we tackled some unknown weed, vinca major/minor (it was planted so long ago I can't remember which), rhododendron killing weedy plants, rhodies, hydrangeas, and whatever else stood between me and a cozy back yard.

As my friend trimmed the 80+ year-old light blue hydrangea, I tackled the needs-to-be-dead-headed nearly as old rhody. Each of these plants lives at one end of the cement porch and both had tendrils reaching halfway across the porch's span.

I also took a weed-whacker to the flowerbed (well, it used to be) under the blooming cherry tree, and then raked.

With the overgrown shrubbery held a little in check, I felt like the house could breathe a little better. From the back porch, I could see to the back fence and the former garden, which is currently a weed patch, though we began that working on that area, as well, later in the day. Standing on the porch, the gigantic hydrangea which had been devouring one end and the rhododendron which had bitten off the other end were reduced to plants, not house-eating monsters. The beds of weeds were now bare patches of earth, with creeping vinca, and still striving ferns despite the neglect (or maybe because of neglect!).

We moved the two faded plastic yard chairs and the stained with dirt plastic table to a shaded area under the tree. The furniture was ugly, but represented what can be.

The houses breathed.

The plants breathed.

We breathed.

And I was, again, reminded of that old saying, "can't see the forest for the trees." When we broke it down into pieces, we were able to accomplish a lot in six hours; when I had previously looked at each weed and each died-off flower on the rhody, I felt only overwhelmed. It was hopeless. Sometimes we need to clear our mind from similar debris, to make room for breathing. And when we breathe, we write better because we think better and we can see the possibilities.

What are your weeds? Where are your overgrown energies and do they need to be there? Or can you trim them down to size and see what else is there?