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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dealing with thorns

Kittsgate rose covering cottage several years ago
Goldfinch in the thistles

This week I've been pulling and cutting back thistles and stuffing them in black plastic bags so they won't spread to the neighbors. They made their many points on my arms and legs, putting up a fight before I put them in the sack, but I won the battle though scarred. One year I kept a field full of thistles just to watch the goldfinch. It was wonderful to see, but the neighbors and us suffered with more than twice the thistle the next year. So I purchase thistle seed and put it out in the Droll feeder and I stop and enjoy the goldfinch before I cut the thistles down. I know they both will be back.
Since I was already beaten up, I decided to tackle the dead-since-two-years-ago wood on the Kittsgate rose bush that climbed to the roof and over a trellis making an archway to the entrace to our home. It is the type that could engulf the house. In fact in England several cottages have disappeared under them. It has grown for years without much water with small profuse July white blossoms making a canopy over our heads as we enter and leave our home. Two years ago after a winter storm, it began to die. I noticed that one side was completely dead and the other, some canes cutting lose from the nibbling deer and beginning to find their way up the post to the trellis again. Now or never I decided. The dead wood needed to go to make room for the new shoots. More puncture wounds from thorns. I worked for several days with a ladder and longer handled pruners and made room for the new growth, winding it along the now bare trellis to start training the bush once again.
As I look at the sores on my legs and arms, how Jesus suffered wounds and death to set me free flitted across my mind. I have been thinking a lot about dead wood lately. I have a lot of it, old ways of acting, behaving that don't help anything new to grow. Time is ripe for freedom and a movement of the spirit here. My dead wood, the ways of thinking and acting in difficult circumstances, needs to go. It doesn't feel very good to be pruned or bear the scars, but I know that this is the only way new branches leaves, flowers can grow unobstructed and beauty returned. As I look out the window from our bed in the morning, I miss seeing the birds perched on the branches (and thistles) but they will be back and both the rose and I renewed.

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