A Time to Trim, A Time To Cut

The chainsaws are busy again at Camp Many Moons. It got me thinking. How do you know when to trim back and when to lop off? The question applies not just to trees but also to outmoded habits. Or stuff you don’t use any more. Or relationships.

When it comes to trees, the answer is easier. If it’s dead, it comes down. (I’ve become ruthless about this even if it provides some screening. I feel strongly about privacy, since I’m an introvert. But I feel even more strongly about looking at dead trees.) If it’s just starting to go, I usually trim the dead limbs and let it stand awhile longer.

Trees give you visual clues. Other things are more complicated. It takes some self-awareness. Have you noticed that some habits, things, and even certain people can start to weigh you down? It makes sense, because we are always evolving. What worked before doesn’t work now. Still, how many of us are hanging onto things we don’t use but can’t give up? Habits that once served us, but don’t any more? And when it comes to people…! That one is tough. I’ve ended a marriage, a few friendships and several romantic relationships in my life. It was hard and felt horrible! But the space left behind was filled, over time, by wiser choices. And most of those former romances became friendships.

So, some trees come down and some get trimmed up. When I first bought this plot of land, I hated cutting down trees. Any trees. I negotiated each one with Jeff, who did all the cutting. Now I have my own little chainsaw and I’m not afraid to use it. (Jeff still handles all the big stuff.) I realize that I’m making room for a better view, and new growth.

Kind of like getting rid of unused stuff and old habits. I’m efficient about the first after living in small spaces for years. The second? Not so much. But I’m working at it! Photos of recent trim-and-lop operations at Camp Many Moons, below.

I cut this one down myself–my largest “solo operation” so far. I’m etting over that fear of the chainsaw!
Sometimes I wonder if we cut a tree down too soon–until I see this hollow center. (Some people have hollow centers, too. Sometimes you can help them fill it, but it’s usually best to leave them behind.) That’s my little chainsaw on the ground.
Many white birches at Camp Many Moons are dead on top but alive in the middle. I hate to take these ones down, but Jeff has taught me to think ahead about the damage the rotting limbs might do when they fall.
Dead wood has its uses. We took the boat out in search of decorative driftwood, which is dead limbs that have been washed clean. We cut through a few narrow passages, which was fun, but didn’t find what we were looking for this time.
This waterfront pathway on Camp Many Moons required cutting down a lot of trees. To console myself, I used leftover stumps as meditation seats. (The hammock is a good place to meditate also. Or sleep.)
Thimbleberries! On my land! With all the trimming of dead stuff, it was so nice to see something new (and delicious!) spring up in its place. These are a kind of sweet relative of the raspberry and grow only in the wild. I grew up picking these.

6 thoughts on “A Time to Trim, A Time To Cut

  1. There is a lot to contemplate about what to trim or to cut. Your message got me thinking, too. Good habits can become bad habits if they die on top and have hollow middles. I am thinking about working too long and inefficiently at something that hollows out the mind, body and soul. Over-serving and over-caring for others without caring for one’s own needs doesn’t serve anyone at the top, or the middle. Perhaps what is at the root, the spark of life that will renew, is what really counts. It’s time to give the spark of life at the root of my soul time to draw from the rich soil from the mulch of past growth. Thank you for my morning meditation experience! Diane


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