Don't attempt to walk across our backyard!
Recently my husband and his trusty chainsaw took on our elderly cherry tree. Branches as thick as my arm lay strewn over the lawn. One moss-covered log measures over six inches in diameter. Sticks abound.
Pruning. It's a messy business.
The thickest length of wood, while appearing much like the rest of the tree, is hollow, dead, lifeless. The other felled branches bear evidence of blossoms waiting to erupt, and yet they met the same fate. "For the health of the tree," I was told.
This tree holds a warm place in my heart as its accumulated yield of plump, juicy Bing cherries weighs into the hundreds of pounds over the years. Each spring we anxiously anticipate the size of our crop as buds become blossoms and white flowers give way to delicious fruit.
And more sentimentally, as I stare at our 30-foot tall, craggy family member, I see three little boys sitting in the crux of three strong branches. I remember little feet and hands eagerly scampering higher and then too high for me to watch. It's a faithful tree.
And for its good, we prune.
If we don't remove dead or damaged areas we risk decay and insects entering the tree. Thinning the branches increases airflow and allows sunlight to reach inner sections, preventing disease. Pruning is prevention.
I wonder if the tree will go on strike this year.
It has, after all, just endured a system-shocking overhaul. The energy typically used to grow little red clusters of joy may be needed for recovery. While it still looks like the same tree - just six-feet shorter and more airy - there is an inner working of regaining balance, healing and sealing its wounds, all acts of preparation for new growth.
Pruning comes at a cost, and like so much of life, requires the skillful hand of one who knows which areas to address, cutting off that which hinders to make room for increased fruit.
Are you being pruned?
With love and gratitude,
In The Midst