I was pruning my old apple trees today and it struck me just how much the task is great analogy for my life. Up on a ladder, precariously perched, wrenching muscles as I try to cut branches too thick for my tools, hair tangled in branches, getting poked in the eye. Honestly, I don't really know what I'm doing. I am totally winging it. Lopping, hacking, cutting away dead limbs, thinning out the excess. Trying to get to healthy growth. Hoping that maybe I am not doing more harm than good. No way of knowing if this will bear fruit, or not. Balancing on the "this is not a step" step, leaning too far out, straining, the voice in my skull screaming at me that I am going to fall and break myself. The dogs are milling about below, and I know that if I fall they are the only ones who will notice. And what good will they do as I lay broken and berating myself for my own stupidity? They will jump on my head, drool, slobber, and generally make nuisances of themselves. But none of them knows how to call for help. "What is it, Lassie? Timmy fell down the well?" Nope, not my lunkheads. Then, if I manage to not fall off the ladder and split my skull, very likely I will step off and into dog shit, trip over the cut branches, and fall face down in the mud.
Then the sun flares in my eyes, and I feel a soft breeze on my cheek. The calm solitude of my life washes over me for a moment, erasing cares and loneliness. I know that even if I don't get many apples, I will get a lot of blossoms. The bees will be happy. I guess I can be content with that.