Tuesday, March 03, 2009
I stand in my backyard, look around. In one corner, by the garden shed, there is a patch of tatty ivy around a still-dormant tree. Under the ivy leaves, not hidden well yet, as the ivy hasn’t had its spring growth spurt, are several broken cement pavers. In other places, I spot what looks like pieces of black electrical cord, and that’s what decides me. I pull on my gloves, and pick up the clippers, already grinning with the idea of cutting the ivy, clearing the space, cleaning up the wire, incongruous in the organic hodgepodge of sticks and leaves and pinecones.
I start to chop and pull at the vines, throwing them behind me to put in the yard waste bin later (next week, really, after it’s emptied. Probably should’ve waited…) I move slowly into the middle of the sprawl of leaves, getting closer to the fence with each step. Then I am at the tree, its many spindly trunks growing thinner as they grow taller, sending out multiple branches. I have no knowledge of the rules or art of pruning. I have no idea what sort of tree this even is. I pause for only a moment, then start clipping away, guided only by feeling: this branch is growing in a strange direction, this one hangs over into the neighbor’s yard (and it’s only good manners not the let that happen, right?), this one….looks wrong. I enjoy the…simplification of pruning the tree. I glare at the higher branches, irritated for a moment that I can’t reach them, then settle for simply cutting them off lower down, and then, grasping the cut end, turning around and yanking it out of the tree top an inch at a time, staggering forward as the branch pulls its way through the topmost parts of the tree.
I switch back to the ground, and pick up a piece of black electrical cord, only then realizing it isn’t cord at all, but a black stem from a leaf, long decomposed, leaving the dried stems scattered about. I look more closely at the other “cords” and discover that my quest to clean out the area of non-organic material, carried out by ruthlessly ripping out all the ivy, was based on false assumptions. I stand and think for only a minute, then continue my scourge. It was only an excuse anyway. I wish for a rake, to sweep smooth the several square feet I have de-ivied. Then I see it.
A small green shoot, visible only now that the darker more prominent green of the ivy is gone, reaches up toward the sky. Others jump out at me, and suddenly I realize the whole area I have just uncovered, recklessly stepping here and there while pulling at vines, is filled with some unidentified spring flower shoots.
Well, of course it is. That was my goal all along, you know….clear out the ivy so that the …daffodils…umm..tulips?...I mean crocuses??....can grow. Yep, that was the mission the entire time.