What I Shed Today

lightening up a little at a time

crepe myrtle shaped up

on May 10, 2014

Pruning in the front yard, episode three: If you’ve lived or traveled in the American south, you’ve seen crepe myrtles. They line the residential streets of small towns, bloom in highway plantings, mark fence rows … even an otherwise naked suburban “golf course” lawn is usually landscaped with a crepe myrtle or two. And if you saw them in summer, when they flower from June to September, you can’t have missed their masses of showy clusters in white, pink, violet, or red. “What is that plant?” I’ve been asked. I wondered the same when I was a child, on a first visit south.

This Asian immigrant has become so commonplace it’s hardly remarkable to the residents. But they do bloom beautifully, grow in a graceful form, have interesting bark, and thrive in our southern climate. So I’m happy we have a few. Ours are probably Lagerstroemia indica. A large one is growing like a sentinel on our corner out front. It needed to be “limbed up” (that is, have its lowest branches removed to reveal the trunk), thinned of internal and crossing branches, and relieved of the weight of dead wood. That was my shed today.

I recognize that I often, in these entries, make little parables of the actions I’m taking to “lighten up.” Well, why not? I think of my own dead wood, my crossed branches, my twists that turn back on myself to conceal my best and truest form. I need to “shape up”! Would that spiritual pruning were as straightforward as using a saw and shears! But the outer work seems to have some inward consequence. For that, I gratefully press on.

shedding style: prune
destination: the brush pile

Comments welcome … what might you prune today?

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2 responses to “crepe myrtle shaped up

  1. Mark says:

    Nice post. Pruning is a good metaphor. It’s also a good reminder that I have a lot of the literal kind waiting for me when I get back home this week!

  2. […] I moved half a dozen that had sprouted up under the skirts of the crepe myrtle and lilac chaste tree. The three largest get to participate in my hugelkultur […]

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