Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.Desmond Tutu
There is a Bible parable that describes the cares of life as weeds choking out productive soil (Matthew 13:24 -30, NIV). With the world convulsing from pandemic-inspired isolation, rebellion, and suffering in the last few months, “Pop-pop” has focused on spending time with our grandson, walking the dogs, harvesting peaches and nectarines, and half-hearted exercise – depression and isolation have been unholy stimulation for my waistline. While not publishing much in the last few months on “Its a Dogs’ Life”, I have still got to deal with the pandemic-inspired drivel created in those weeks. Perhaps a future essay on blogging technique? Perhaps tips on how to declutter your mind but not your readership – by actually releasing those thoughts into the world?
On Saturday I literally and figuratively began to clear “weeds” that have been choking creativity. For several years, I have accumulated flowering shrubs in our front yard, which for a small window of time are like a very colorful painting. But there is a difference between a garden that Matisse might envision and one Jackson Pollack – albeit on hallucinogens -produces. My wife has reasonably let me defer renovating our yard – while several neighbors have adapted to xeriscaping and artificial turf, I dreamed of a reasonably landscaped area on a budget for our “golden years”. Last weekend I knew what I was able to tackle with a wheelbarrow and an electrical reciprocating saw. By Sunday, the largest of the shrubs I removed myself was one which dominated the dead center of our yard. For a nearly thirty-foot Mexican fan palm, a nuisance “weed”, I used a tree company. By late afternoon Monday, that tree, and a decade-old Aleppo “living Christmas” pine tree was on its way to the compost dump. A backyard tree, doubled in height since last I had it pruned, was also trimmed. The occasion was also humbling. I got to apologize to a couple neighbors who I hadn’t informed beforehand that branches might fall into their yards.
There is value in clearing out the dead wood, overgrown vines, and the useless collection of things that can overwhelm a normally happy person or an otherwise pleasant yard now and again. It allows dogs and dog-men ( and women) to enjoy some contemplative time or prayer or even to blog productively. As bloggers we know that inspiration often comes from such opportunities. The chaos of the world today is really little changed from the chaos five thousand years ago. Instead of dwelling on the chaos we try to inspire, comfort and commune with others. A scripture also says that each day has trouble of its own so we should not worry about what tomorrow brings (Matthew 6:34).