Monday, February 4, 2013

Blackberry Brambles

    Yesterday I spent part of my afternoon assaulting the blackberry brambles that inhabit one corner of my property. This last year I have only cut them back when they were threatening to encroach further onto my turf. Yesterday, as I was pruning some of my many rose bushes, I also cut back a few isolated berry vines that had materialized amongst the roses. This got me into blackberry battle frenzy mode. I abandoned my roses and assaulted the vines. I knew I needed to cut back the vines sneaking up on the young Texas King Fig tree that I planted last year, so that is where I began, slowly working my way out, using the fig tree as the center of my attack. The reason I mention this seemingly mundane task is not because I was decimating blackberries, but because of the thoughts that rambled through Brain while hands were busy. Tangled vines, interwoven, invasive, clawing, tearing, overwhelming, seemingly insurmountable, are much like problems that rear up in life. Standing and looking at the mass of vines, which are so adept at snatching at my skin that they seem to have an animal awareness, it seemed an impossible task. My Aegean Stables, my Gordian Knot with vicious claws. Life looming large and difficult. I know if I dive in, take too much, I will become ensnared, bloodied, defeated. I start with one cut. One small cut. A few feet of vine, separated from its roots and cast to the side. I do not cut long, heavy sections, they are unmanageable, and likely to stab at me with saber thorns. I cut small sections, a few feet at a time, single branches, short, manageable. I toss the pieces on a pile. It seems as if I am making no progress, but I am as persistent as they are. Clip, clip, toss, clip, clip, toss. I begin to see that I am making a little progress, my little fig tree is no longer in peril of being engulfed. I keep clipping and tossing. The vines begin to recede, the pile of severed vines grows higher. Like life, instead of being overwhelmed by what seems the impossible, the insurmountable, I just take it one small clip, one small step at a time. It seems as if I am making no progress, stalled, snared, tangled, for the longest time. And then I notice that a little progress has been made. Yes, I am scratched, a little bloody, but feeling innervated, seeing small successes, a spark of triumph beginning to kindle. I keep cutting away, removing obstacles, untangling, inching forward. Suddenly it seems, I can see just how far I have progressed, how hard I have worked, the thorny barricades have been reduced to negligible, and my debris pile has taken on a life of its own. What was once a barricade has been reduced to a tidy, insignificant pile, all because I kept moving ahead, even when it seemed I was getting nowhere, I stubbornly kept moving ahead.

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