Posted on | July 26, 2011 | 19 Comments
I never did a lot of yard work until recently. Hell, I mowed the grass for the first time in my life several weeks ago and I did it in flip flops. Because I’m a yard work moron.
But since moving back into the house, I’ve found a new appreciation for digging in the dirt. It’s therapeutic. It’s exercise. And sometimes? Sometimes you just need a sharp pair of hedge clippers in your hand and you NEED to cut things. Like the overgrown bushes lining the fence I share with my neighbors. Like the bushes that cloak my patio. Like the hedges that line the front of my house.
And like the rose bush, that, until recently, climbed steadily up my back yard pine tree, spreading it’s branches out across the yard in a glorious display of beauty and the beast.
It was a beautiful rose bush for all intents and purposes and it needed little to no care. It bloomed in a beautiful half white/half pink explosion of wild blossoms, unexplained and unexpected.
In the time we lived in the house, the rose bush continued to grow, climbing steadily up and out, spreading it’s branches well past the pine tree and into the yard. It was beautiful.
It was dangerous.
That’s the thing about roses… they look and smell lovely. They are lovely… from a distance. But up close, they are a mess of thorns and dry, broken branches. They are a collection of brittle base branches, long forgotten yet inexplicably still supporting life on the farthest outshoot… a limb growing while the heart dies.
This past weekend, I put on my bright green garden gloves and a pair of long pants despite the heat, and I waded into the rose bush with my clippers at the ready. It was time to let go of the thorns.
When I first set off on this path… this tale of separation and divorce, I made a promise to myself, to J and to this blog to be polite and courteous to my ex-husband. I made a promise to never speak ill of him or in any way paint him in a negative light. (Clip, clip, clip.)
I have failed at that promise.
It was a promise I was destined to fail at, of course, no one can wade into thorns and not slice themselves open at the most tender of places. It is impossible to lay your heart open for others to read and shield them from the blackness that creeps in amongst the blooms. (Pull, separate, discard the broken branches.)
I loved my ex-husband because he was spontaneous. I loved him because he would drive to Boone to see me when I told him not to. I loved him because he wrote me songs and made me feel like I was the only woman on earth. I loved him because he lacked a little self control where I had entirely too much. Opposites attract, right? (Clip. Clip. Clip.)
I loved him because I thought he needed me and because I thought I needed him. (Cutting away the underbrush.)
I loved him because he loved me with a strange ferocity that boardered on possessiveness without the abuse and without the control. (Wiping the sweat from my eyes.)
I loved him. And there was nothing wrong with that. (Begin again on the other side.)
But when you get into a relationship, oftentimes people change. And in our relationship, I was the one who changed… not him. (The branches are thicker here and my arms ache with the weight of the clippers.)
Yes. I changed. I grew. I became a mother. I wanted different things from my relationship with my husband. (A ripping of skin. Blood pools just on the side of my arm as I curse another thorn.) I wanted different things from my husband.
My husband did not change.
And then I was finished. And then I had clipped away so much of the bush as to leave behind only the shell of what must have been beautiful once. It looked bare and empty, devoid of the dark green limbs that threatened with thorns, devoid of everything except the shell… the base… where it all began.
I loved my husband but we were not meant to grow old together. He was not ready to grow old. He was not ready to settle down. That does not make him anything other than what he was when I met him. And as I stood there, ripped open at the seams, I let the hedge trimmers fall into the soft dirt beside me. Point down. Harmless.
I no longer feel the need to hurt him.
There has been enough hurt for both of us.
The roses are gone. The branches removed. And for the first time in a very long time, I can see past the thorns.