My task, I assumed, would be simple: “Trim Bushes.” At first sight and from a distance my job appeared to be easy because I didn’t see what lied beneath the surface.
Upon closer inspection, an invasive and undesirable Bittersweet vine had entrenched itself within an old, established, and healthy Juniper bush. In time, the parasitic vine would have grown thicker and killed the bush.
The bush needed help. It was being overwhelmed!
I could have taken an easy way out, put forth little effort, and made some cosmetic trimming cuts that hid the Bittersweet and exposed the Juniper. In the long run, any “short cuts” that I took would expose my sloppy and careless work.
I take pride in my work, so I chose the longer and more difficult path which would lead to longer term success and health of the Juniper. Not to mention, it would hopefully impress my boss.
Step 1: I made my first cut in a gangly, new-growth section of the vine. It required very little effort.
Step 2: I followed the life-line of the limb I had just cut. This action required more effort because I had to fight the resistance of the Juniper’s branches, which hid the parasite’s source of strength: the ground.
Step 3: I used three tools to help me extract the life-choking and thriving vine.
- My hands were able to pull some of the immature growth from the ground rather easily.
- For the established vines, I used a pair of hand clippers to sever the life line, at ground level.
- I needed a pair of heavy duty loppers to take care of the mature and hardened stalks.
Step 4: Repeat Steps 1, 2, and 3.
This process was tedious, laborious, and uncomfortable. Why was it uncomfortable? Several reasons.
- Junipers have an abrasive texture which irritate any exposed skin.
- Bees, hornets, and wasps. Enough said.
- Heat and humidity.
- The general fatigue and soreness that comes in the middle of a long trimming season of landscape work.
Despite the challenges, I finished my task.
The Juniper bush was free to soak in the sun and to no longer compete for water. Its true beauty was no longer disguised or hidden by a veil.
However, I still had to clean up the mess I made. I had to pick up and throw away the debris I had left behind.
And then, start on the next bush.
So how exactly is trimming a Juniper bush like life?
Don’t we all have elements in our daily lives that overtake our natural beauty? Don’t we, at some point in our lives, wear disguises or veils? Don’t we sometimes feel that we are not worthy, not adequate, or good enough to just be ourselves?
Have you ever felt the need for help? Someone to show up in your life with a pair of trimmers, or even a pair of loppers, you know, for the heavy stuff?
Have you ever been a “landscaper” to a friend or family member? It’s uncomfortable at times isn’t it? Did you make cosmetic surface cuts that made the person look “pretty?” Or did you pull the roots from their source of strength and make the person feel beautiful?
You have to clean up a mess or discard debris. You have to repeat the process. You need to provide maintenance so the situation doesn’t get out of control again.
It’s not easy being a landscaper to a bush or to a person you love. However, the results and the rewards can be truly magnificent.
So please, do yourself (or a loved one) a favor: make the deep cut! And don’t forget to clean up the mess.
Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant.