Final Harvest

17 09 2013

Friday night I went to bed giddy.  The thought of Saturday’s plans would pop into my head then result in instant butterflies! It’s the same feeling you get when you are in a new relationship and the thought of seeing your newly Applesbeloved rules your every waking moment. Real life is just a distraction to pass the minutes until you can be with that person again. Yeah, it was like that.  This relationship is not new however, just neglected.  Not forgotten, but sitting patiently like an aging wall flower against the gym wall.  I’m talking about the relationship between me and my living space. As Faerie Goatmother has grown, we find ourselves having fewer weekends at home.  When we’re not doing markets, we are usually booked solid with social engagements, family obligations or kid functions.  It is extremely rare for the four of us to find ourselves with an entire day to stay home and take care of our little corner of the world. I have watched, for two years now, as we have lost two crops (small as they were) of apricots to simply not getting to them before the squirrels, birds or ants did. I have climbed to my rooftop garden to find the cucumbers that I planted shriveled and dead, replaced by an entire planter of basil (not a bad thing) that had gone to seed the year before, came back and strangled out all else.  I won’t even touch on the now ubiquitous morning glory. But given the gift of a day at home, there was no question of how I was going to spend it.

An entire day of harvesting, trimming, pruning and tidying made me think about what maintenance means. It’s about taking care, constant care, and sometimes it is as much about making the tough decision to take a favorite tree down as it is about simple pruning and trimming just to make that sick tree look cared for. We have been struggling all year to clean up after little bits of the life that was torn apart during our remodel (and before), but dealing with little bits isn’t enough, new messes arise and multiply like bunnies, and it sometimes gets to the point of wanting to give up.  And I guess, at some level, that’s what we did.

This morning, after the kids had gone to school, I was doing the breakfast dishes and noticed how bright it was in the kitchen. All the branches I had worked so hard to take down had created a space for the light to come in. In the freshly swept and raked back yard, I appreciated the absence of fallen apples, and the blankness of the fence where the morning glory had, until two days before, completely taken over. Everywhere I look now, I see things that I want to trim, prune, take down. I am obsessed with letting the light in and creating more spaces. Less clutter, less to notice, something simple, bright and pleasant. I need more days like Saturday to really think about that tree. No matter how ancient, if the wood at the core is weakened to the point of no longer being safe, then what?

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