This weekend we did a major overhaul on our property. There were many small trees growing up where they didn’t belong. Our lovely wedding veil shrubs were in dire need of a trim. And the poison ivy, Virginia creeper, wild grapes and roses were threatening to overtake anything and everything that provided a way to get up.
Despite our best efforts to haul as much of the trimming and cutting debris away as it was created, there were still several piles of large branches scattered around the yard today. So this afternoon I donned my gloves and my working clothes and began the task of clearing it away.
We have a narrow strip of woods on the northern edge of our property, and there is an abandoned railroad without rails or ties that makes up our property line. We have used this is our composting area for large brush for a long time. Really it just becomes great habitat for groundhogs. But nevertheless, the idea is to let nature take care of it rather than burning it or hauling it to the landfill.
As I made trip after trip across the road to our woods, I thought this is much like meditation. Thoughts arise, some are just small like sticks, not hard to carry but there are a lot of them. When I find that deep place of peace these just roll away. But other thoughts are like trees. Difficult to carry and heavy…sometimes they have thorns and making your way to the deep place of peace is very hard. There are limbs that smack you right in the face, wet leaves to slip on, and the fears that arise. It so hard to get rid of these thoughts when you have all sorts of fears pop up…like the snakes that might be hiding in the woods, or the dread of getting poison ivy.
The more times you make the trip, especially with the really unruly trees and vines, the easier it becomes. The path is clearer. You’ve remembered to push those face smacking limbs out of the way. The practice and persistence pays off eventually. And in return we earn a subtle peace that we carry with us wherever we go. We earn patience. We earn clarity.
When it is all said in done, this process of clearing away and releasing, difficult though it may be, leaves us with much more. And the light can shine again.