June 27

Eventually . . .

June 27, 2016

Personal Growth

I spent the day removing tree branches that were covering much of the roof of an outbuilding, as well as many other branches, vines, and weeds nearby. It was a lot of work, getting up and down the ladder, chain-sawing the large branches, winching the trunk of a tree away from the building, reaching above my head with loppers to reach the higher branches, and filling the ATV trailer. Be the end of the day, I was exhausted.

I noticed that among the upper branches—covering them in places—were vines of wild wisteria. These vines can be beautiful, producing a purple bloom that resembles large clusters of grapes. They’re often planted to cover arbors and rock walls, but if they’re not carefully tended they can become invasive and kill large trees by covering their leaves and choking their branches.

I pulled down as many of the vines as I could from the roof of the building—in the process having to cut out many of the branches of desired decorative trees—but I realized that I would have to find where the main trunk of the vine was coming out of the ground, so I could cut it there. Then the entire vine would die, and in a couple of years, all the vine branches and leaves would rot and fall to the ground.

I looked all around the building for trunks of the vine, and I found many that were maybe an inch in circumference. But I also knew these were not large enough to produce the number of leaves I was seeing above, which had become more like a tree canopy suspended from the branches of the other trees.

Finally, I tracked backward from the vines above and realized, with a smile, that the trunk of the largest wisteria had been in front of me the whole time, but it was more than nine inches in diameter, about the same as the size of the tree trunks around it.

Years ago, I had seen evidence of the wisteria in the branches of the trees, and I thought, “I need to get rid of those vines. Eventually, I will.” A year or two later, again I thought, “Eventually, I need to do that.” And then I quit thinking about it, and by the time I attended to the job it had become quite a project. When it was small, I could have clipped the trunk of the vine-like a fingernail with a pair of hand clippers. In the end, I required a chain saw and many other tools.

We do this in our personal lives a lot. We see a small defect, and we make a note to do something about it. Then later we remind ourselves again. But eventually, that small defect becomes a tree, and then it’s a great deal harder to remove. There is so much wisdom in addressing problems sooner, while they’re small.

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