Monday was tough. Mounds of brittle leaves and pine straw had to be raked and burned before we could plant. Muscles I’d neglected for months protested. Also, my husband never stops, so I felt like a slacker when I took a break.
Thankfully our toil was rewarded with temperatures in the mid-seventies and an exhilarating breeze. Still, after eight hours of yard work, I was sweat-soaked, grimy, and famished.
Tuesday morning my posture resembled a candy cane. But I hobbled outside, creaking like the Tin Man. My husband cranked his chainsaw and whacked drooping palm fronds and oak branches that had been decimated by Jack Frost. I saluted the fallen appendages and hauled them out of his way and onto a waiting trailer.
As each day passed the work became a little easier. That wonderful breeze kept blowing, consecrating our labor. We shoveled, planted, and watered. And finally, it happened.
I imagined the knockout roses beside the hydrangeas . . . envisioned dahlias and zinnias swaying above a carpet of alyssum, with a backdrop of multi-colored gladioli . . . anticipated the moss roses creeping along the ground beneath the holly trees.
Editing your writing is a lot like yard work. You have to do some undesirable things to achieve the desired result. For example, pruning seems crazy, but cutting away the ineffective increases productivity. And while it’s time-consuming to thin seedlings, a simple transplant can make all the difference. Finally, as painful as it is, a complete removal of an invasive species makes room for a more organic presence.