Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lessons in Pruning

There's been a whole lot of pruning going on here at the farm. The apple and mulberry trees have gotten cut back, and what were once giant tangles of concord grapevines are now composed trunks, ready to settle in to spring. I am learning how to prune, and while methods certainly vary from plant to plant, I'm seeing that it has a lot to do with looking for and removing parts of the plant that are dead. It's a funny thing, training your eye to look for lifelessness. Perhaps it's the very nature of winter that makes us see the melancholy in everything - but pruning has made me very tuned-in to the overall deadness of winter.

I'm beginning to understand this concept in a way I never could before, not for all the palm trees and cement of my southern California upbringing. Winter is dead. The trees are bare. The wind is biting. Winter means seeing your breath even at the warmest part of the day. It means sore fingers and toes and layers upon layers of clothes. It means near desperation for ripe tomatoes, and kicking yourself for not eating more when it was August. It means cutting off lifeless branches, so that new ones can grow.

And so I'm learning that the act of pruning also lends to keeping your eyes open to what is still very much alive in the plant, and just sleeping for now. Look there, buds on the apple branches. And there, some green grass is starting to appear on the hill. We're a few weeks out from March 21st, but the changes are beginning to happen. I think this spring will mean the most it ever has to me...

3 comments:

Sheri said...

Such a great post. Spring is almost here!

Anonymous said...

Still below freezing overnight up here in MN.. And still 12+ inches of snow on the ground. Did find some buds on some swamp brush on Sunday! And young maples are starting to turn color! Syrup season is almost here!!

Anonymous said...

This is a preview to your new book, right? ;)

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