I headed out this morning, scraping frost off the windshield in a mere 22 degree dawn, to work on the grounds of St. Francis Retreat Center. With coffee at hand and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy CD playing, the 50 minute drive went by quickly.
Even though the morning was cold, the sun was bright and thwarted my S.A.D. An hour later two more well bundled volunteers joined me to help clean up the gardens. They headed off to cut back the ornamental grasses, and I stayed near the front to prune and rake.
For over three hours I contemplated being pruned as I pruned or, of late while unemployed, of being cut to the ground and starting anew.
I love to prune. It's like art to me, a hope filled art.
Sometimes with small trees a whole section that rubs against what is good needs to be removed. At other times the interior has become cluttered with unnecessary branches that block the light from reaching deep inside. More often, it is a simple nip here or there to keep things growing as they should.
When I do this light pruning I look for a buds direction, its future. Will it grow backwards and into itself? Does it face out and up toward the sun? I imagine the plant's growth and calculate development before I dare to cut.
On more than one occasion the Groundskeeper has lovingly chided me as I repeatedly circled my object of renovation. Maybe I do take too seriously the ramifications of my pruning efforts. But like other things in my life, I do not want to throw others off balance.
And this is how I drew closer to God on this bright and chilly day. He too wants balanced growth, purposefully directional.