This summer, I learned more deeply, the value and importance of pruning.
As the season was gradually revealing itself, I was pouncing on the opportunity to kick winter out–to let her know that her services were no longer needed! I wanted to find the most salient way to convey to her that she was simply no longer welcome here! I had decided I would put bright pink geraniums in the two large pots sitting on my bungalow stoops, a neon sign, flashing at winter—we are closed to you, and open to all of what summer has to offer! Ha!
So I planted those geraniums and even mixed in a bit of miracle grow, hopeful that the mix would enhance the flourishing of the sun and warm weather, too! All was well. Nothing said summer like my hot pink geraniums, and I think I saw winter, tail-tucked, scampering down the block! Ha!
A week or so past, and the flowers that had blossomed in the first week were starting to wilt. I don’t know what I felt. I certainly hadn’t expected them to live forever, but when the moment of wilting came, I felt the grit of panic, just a wee bit—I didn’t want to lose my signs of summer…
I looked out of the window later that afternoon, and my husband, Darrel, was plucking the wilted flowers from the plant! I ran out of the front door, “Why are you taking them?!” His eyes widened and he looked over his glasses at me, usually a surefire signal that I have misplaced my sanity. Ha! I love that cue!
He explained that our neighbor next door, who, by the way, has far surpassed having a green thumb, and has moved into fingers and toes of every shade of the growth hue imaginable, told him that he had to pull those wilted ones off or the new ones would never come in, and in fact, ultimately, the whole plant would die.
Uummmm….I KNOW THAT. DUH. It’s called PRUNING. EVERYONE knows THAT. Funny thing, though; I still didn’t want to do it, and I didn’t want it done on my behalf. But, why? Well, maybe it was because for a little while, after the pruning, there were no pretty pinks–just the plain green plant. But, you know what? Soon I began to admire the beauty of the simplicity of the greens. They didn’t have a loud announcement of summer like the pinks did, shooing winter away; they simply were, and their existence was statement enough. A security they had in themselves—just being green plants in May—was statement enough of the season. No need to grandstand. Didn’t those plants remind me. Yes, they did. And yes, I was thankful for their being, after while…
In two days, just as I knew they would, the pinks boasted their grandiosity once more. I smiled. Happy they had returned, but not really returned. You see, the old pinks, the ones I once loved so much, were dead and gone. These were the new ones, and they were good, too. But I knew them differently than the old pinks. These new pinks had come AFTER. After my realization that I was nervous to let the old pinks go. After the “re-membrance” of how sometimes, simple being conveys the best messaging.
I still LOVE the pinks. And I also rest in the simplicity of the moments when the plants are just green, knowing that they are still geraniums, still very much alive, and they will shout out summer, pink blossoms abounding, when the time is right. Aaahhh, the importance of actual pruning, and not just the idea of it. Selah.