My life is blessed for many reasons, one of which is the house I live in. I’m one of the lucky people whose backyard borders a patch of land the city has chosen not to develop. A quick walk out my back gate and I have a lovely park for my dogs. On early mornings, I have the gentle rustle of trees to keep me company as I have my first cop of tea.
The downside has been the same as the upside: the trees. Over the course of two decades, they have grown, lush, full, gorgeous…and leaned on the fence. For a while, I tried to ignore the damage that would be done. The trees were so beautiful and they’d become good friends to me. But closing my eyes to reality only works for so long.
The problems arose. We wanted to paint the old fence. Build a new one. Nothing could be done because of the trees. Finally, we put a call into city maintenance and asked them to cut back the trees that were causing the damage, but to do everything they could to cut minimally.
The whole experience has got me thinking about the choices I make in my life. What are the things I hold onto in my life because they bring me joy and comfort, but are ultimately destructive? Oh, it’s easy enough to prune the toxic people or the dishes of food that–while delicious–are terrible for my heart or allergies.
It’s the other stuff I find difficult to cut back on. But the fence and the trees have taught me a lesson. I want to go through my life, take a look at things like the books I read, the media I consume, the video games I play…all the stuff that’s fun but maybe isn’t doing a whole lot to further me as a person or as a writer. I’ve got the shears ready, now it’s time to do some pruning.