“If you want to stimulate growth, prune,” quips Joel Salatin in a farming magazine recently, and it is certainly true. Pruning rose bushes and apple trees promotes healthy and vigorous growth, and better blooms and fruit. Rotationally grazing pastures and mowing lawns keeps both in a constant vegetative state, leaving a rich green expanse. Trimming hedges and shrubs makes them come back with a vengeance.
Even in nature, this pattern can be seen. Out west, in the great Sequoia forests, fires started by lightning are allowed to burn, because the foresters know that this is how nature prunes out the competitive undergrowth and allows for new healthy trees to get a start. Survival of the fittest means that while some offspring don’t survive, the ones that do are most likely to thrive.
In our human lives, the same principal holds true. Many magazines and websites are devoted lately to “decluttering,” whether it be material possessions or demands on our time. Perhaps this is just another word for pruning. If we are somehow able to take those pruning shears to our own lives, and remove the dead wood, we are likely going to find more time and space for growth and quality in what remains. Sometimes it’s hard to decide which branches to remove, but without judicious pruning, no progress will be made.
Time to get out my pruning shears.