To me pruning is one way of simplifying. It means to cut back, trim down, slice away or amputate, but it’s more than mere destruction. It’s renewal by removal.
Pruning is a skill every gardener builds. Cutting back a plant opens up space to let in light and air. It encourages new life. We shape new growth by selective removal of the old, we allow fresh chances by severing failed attempts.
It can seem cruel. The results can look odd to an eye trained only to see “natural” growth (see the top image. Pollarding is a specialized kind of pruning I only learned about this year, and it still looks terribly odd to me.) I have a hard time pruning in the garden. Cutting away living growth is especially painful. It’s taken several seasons of nursing along droopy, unhappy perennials to teach me that pruning them may be painful to do, but the result is a good thing. A needful thing. A betterment, even.
All this is true In life as well as in horticulture. I don’t have time to do major analogy stuff, but it seems pretty obvs to me. Cut out the old and useless, sever ties to the unhealthy, spread and grow into the new light and airy spaces. It can be painful, but it’s healing in the long run. All that. Yeah.
True confession. When I saw the Advent word for today my initial thought progression went like this: “Prune? As in face like a shriveled prune? Why the hell is dried plum a word for Advent? Because of sugarplums? Are sugarplums prunes? I’m not sure they’re even plums…hang on. Waitaminute. Oh, prune. Verb. Not noun. Right. I knew that.”
I could’ve written about dried plums for five minutes too. My sibs and I used to get dried fruit in our stockings at Christmas along with candy canes, so I’ve always had a fondness for “dried plums.”
But that would be a different post.
extra picture because I liked it. Also, peacock!
Click here to see the global #AdventWord event/calendar I’m bending to my bloggish purposes: AdventWord
image: jeonsango via pixabay