Growing near the front sidewalk are two quarter-century old cluster rose bushes. Myriads of tiny red flowers cheer those who walk past on their way to school, to work, home, or out for exercise. Each cluster blooms vigorously for quite some time, then dies so that new growth can bud and bloom, a generous cycle of beauty.
Regularly I prune back the crispy brown heads to make room for new glory. But no matter how thick my gloves or long my sleeves thorns jab, poke, and scratch my hands and arms. Battle wounds, I call them, for the bushes are taller than I and war against my flesh with their innumerable sharp defenses.
After completing the disagreeable chore satisfaction settles upon my countenance for the effort's result lingers. The bushes' luster returns. They become perky, pretty, tended even while I am disheveled and bleeding.
Sometimes I let my life get a bit too raggedy before I prune it back. I wait too long to discard external disturbances, to forgive mistakes mourned, to forget the negative, to embrace vitality, optimism, hope. Sometimes missteps linger in my thoughts long after they've gone impotent, yet I continue heeding their moribund ramifications. In my harboring, the battle wounds are not allowed to heal.
How easy to forgive! Remove decay. Begin anew! Freedom. Space. Contentment.
Perhaps someday I'll be quicker to recognize the languishment. But for today I shall embrace the chill morning air to clip the roses and in so doing clear not only ugliness from the yard but recently collected rubbish from my heart and mind.