My front yard boasts an impressive acacia tree. It’s a good thirty feet tall with branches arching out over half of the yard and shading most of the driveway. With the tiniest of leaf petioles, I find it impressive that so much shade can exist under its twisting branches.
When the winds kick up around here the upper and outer branches, which are fairly thin and flexible, wave about like animated ghosts in a Disney cartoon. Some of the outer branches nearly touch the ground when the wind howls. It’s quite a show.
I worry that one of these mornings after one of our storms, I’ll peak out the front door to find the tree completed blown over or a significant branch or two lying on the ground. You see, the tree has a dire need of pruning.
Looking at it from a few houses away it looks okay. It’s green and fluffy and has a nice shape. But step underneath the tree and look up into the canopy and you’ll see the problem. Half of the branches are dead or dying, or at least look that way. I think maybe the tree can’t support that much growth, so the inside lower branches, which don’t get much sunlight kind of give up.
There’s one really large branch that’s broken but hanging on by the bark. We’re talking a branch eight inches across. All the branches on that limb have died and browned over and dropped most of their tiny leaves.
I’ve done the best I can with my pruning stick thingy, but it only cuts half-inch branches or smaller. What it really needs is a knowledgeable tree person to thin out the overgrown and unnecessary larger branches. This will, in turn, allow the rest of the tree to grow, flex, stretch and thrive.
Procrastination being my middle name, I’ve put off doing anything about it. Sure, I’ve asked a few friends for phone numbers of their tree people. But I haven’t followed through on getting estimates or scheduling the deed.
I think I’m like that tree. I’m a tangled mess of a little of this and a bunch of that and some over here and there. Tough winds blow through my life and I get all tied up in knots and swoosh around wondering if I’m going to blow over or fall down.
It’s not that I’m wimpy or weak or wishy-washy. It’s more that I’m unfocused and spread over too wide of an area. So many things call to me for my time, money and attention.
I can’t do it all. My trunk and roots can’t support every leaf and branch my life wants to send out. Regardless of how worthwhile, fun, or interesting, sometimes I have to say “no.” Sometimes I have to let go of what looks good from a distance, but might, with closer inspection, really just take a toll on me.
Might be time for some personal pruning. Hmmm.
So, it’s five days since I wrote about the acacia tree. I finally had the tree pruned. It took a guy with power tools and ladders almost five hours to prune, trim, shape and bring that tree under control. Then he had to load the mountain of branches into his oversized trailer and strap it down snug.
One of my fears was that it would look naked and overpruned. Luckily the tree guy really had a good handle on how to shape that mass of overgrown tangled branches. The tree still looks full and round. It still casts a broad shadow over my driveway and provides plenty of places for birds to hang out. But now, sunshine can get through the top canopy to the lower branches. Bits of blue sky show through when I look up from underneath this natural sculpture.
I think the tree will be happier and healthier without so much extra weight hanging on it. When the winds blow, the branches and tiny leaves will be less like sails on a ship and more like a musical instrument for the wind to make music with.
I think I’d be happier and healthier with some mental pruning. I’d rather be a musical instrument than a sail.