Now that we've gotten to know one another a little bit, I can tell you what I've been up to. The last few days have been spent tirelessly banging away at nature and trying to win back a patch of dirt to do yet more hard work in. When I first moved in and looked out my back window - I was heartbroken.
The image I retained of this place when I was a little girl had persisted in my heart, and I was not ready to face what it had truly become. A beautiful plum tree in the center of the yard (and memories of hours beneath it gathering plums for jam), a vegetable garden placed prominently at the end of the yard, blackberry and blueberry hedges, roses, bulbs of every shape color and size, maple trees, honeysuckle, and a myriad of wildflowers.
It was nothing now but a bramble.
All those things I once loved had overtaken the space and it was utterly destroyed. The blackberries, given free reign, had turned the space into an impassible mass of thorns. The honeysuckle had become voracious, overtaking every available tree and wrapping it in dense choking vines. The plums, with no one to care for them, were invasive saplings filling every available space. For days now we've been fighting back with machetes, weed whackers, rakes, and shovels. I'm covered in scrapes, poison ivy - sunburn. But I feel satisfied.
Yesterday, as Vandal was just finally unwrapping the last of the honeysuckle from a beautiful mimosa tree, I was thinking to myself that I could almost hear it breathe a sigh of relief - it was free now. Able to grow.
That's sort of the way of things, isn't it?
We fill ourselves up with all of these things that we love, we keep them in check, practice moderation... but after a while, we stop paying attention. We realize that we cant even breathe anymore before we ever notice the problem. All of these lovely things that we fill our life (or spiritual practice for that matter) with, start to overtake the space - choking everything. And if we let that happen, we cant grow. We cant be beautiful.
It got me to wondering what things I had overgrowing my personal garden.
Had the tough exterior that I had come to rely on, become a thorny bramble, utterly impassible to those who love me? Was my wild nature threatening to choke out all of the (necessary) structured spaces in who I am?
I never want to have an image of myself that I only see through rose colored glasses. I don't want to become so attached to my thorns that I have to stand back terrified of what I see in the mirror. I guess what I'm saying (in my overly flowery, round about, way) is that if I want that ideal image of me, just like that nostalgic childhood backyard - that I have to work at it. And absolutely nothing worth having comes easy.
So Vandal, I'm going to dedicate this post to you.
We say "I Do" in a couple of weeks and I know that's huge for both of us. I said I'd never do it again, and you, well, you're going out on a limb with some damaged merchandise. But I promise you this - I promise to never stop trying to be a better me. I'll always be keeping the thorns in check, trying not to let my craziness speak louder than my practicality, and to always be here for you.
And, if worse comes to worse - I guess we'll just dust off the weed whacker.