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.


19 Responses to “Gardening”

  1. R's Mom
    July 26th, 2011 @ 9:17 am

    This post took my breath away. First because your writing is just beautiful. And I love the analogies you are able to make here. But secondly because I am just amazed at where you seem to be emotionally. And I hope that you read back on some of your earlier posts — even some of those from before the rug got pulled out from under you — and can appreciate where you are now. The journey isn’t always pleasant. And it’s probably not over. But you have gained so much perspective. And I hope that at least now — even when you have a bad day — you can see that you will get through this. And that you are strong. And that you are doing what is best for you…and what is best for you, is also best for J, even if it’s been painful to get there.

  2. Anthony from CharismaticKid
    July 26th, 2011 @ 9:21 am

    Wow, very great use of symbolism. Your writing gets better and better every time I’m here!

  3. Doeshell
    July 26th, 2011 @ 9:39 am

    Absolutely beautiful. Your use of the rose bush and precision of words to paint this allegory of what is going on, was just… beautiful. I have only started reading the past few months, but I can see your maturity about this curve in the road really “blossoming”… I pray for your heart to continue to heal. Keep writing girl- this is your calling.

  4. Mrs. MidAtlantic
    July 26th, 2011 @ 10:08 am

    Such a beautiful metaphor between you and the rose bush. And as someone with a little gardening experience? Your rose bush will grow back healthier and more beautiful than before. Just as you will.

  5. Tiffany @MomNom
    July 26th, 2011 @ 10:15 am

    Keep going…

  6. Chunky Mama
    July 26th, 2011 @ 10:25 am

    Wow. Beautiful post.
    What a gift you have to be able to write like this.
    *hugs to you*

  7. Amberlee
    July 26th, 2011 @ 11:05 am

    Great post. It hurts my heart to know you are hurting, but you’ll make it. You’ll be stronger because of all this. Keep writing it’s beautiful.

  8. Sarah
    July 26th, 2011 @ 11:19 am

    Yeah… this is pretty much my favorite post yet. 🙂

    And I needed a kick ass post today. Like, really really needed it.


  9. Mary
    July 26th, 2011 @ 11:29 am

    Okay, of course this is none of my business. But since your husband at heart seems a good guy (who of course has made lots of mistakes), and he seems to be interested in getting back together, would it be that bad to give it one more try? If he were abusive or a horrible father, it would of course be another story.

    I am sure it would be horribly difficult for you, but if there’s any way it could work, it would mean the world for your son. My best friend’s parents stayed together for her sake (she didn’t find out until high school), and although they probably didn’t have the happiest marriage, it was a sacrifice they made for the happiness of their kids.

    I hope I don’t sound too judgmental here because everyone has to make their own decisions about their own lives. I just wondered if it was something you had really considered–staying together for the sake of your son. I know you have a “sponsor” to keep you from contacting him, so I’m sorry if this comment is going in a direction your heart is avoiding.

    By the way, I think you are a very strong, admirable and eloquent woman. Your blog is mind-blowing.

  10. Law Momma
    July 26th, 2011 @ 11:49 am

    Mary: Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, though my ex-husband is a decent human being, he was not a very good husband and would not be a very good husband even if we were to try again. Some people are not cut out for marriage and he is one of them. Yes, I think it can be an admirable thing to try again if both parties are willing; but in this case, I believe my ex-husband’s willingness to try again stems more from his loneliness and less from his desire to actually give things another go. Besides, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my last 33 years of living, it’s that I’m not really good at “settling.” 🙂

  11. the mombshell
    July 26th, 2011 @ 1:25 pm

    This post is beautiful.

  12. Hypnobirthing Mama
    July 26th, 2011 @ 2:48 pm

    My word. That was such a beautiful post. I hope you continue to heal.

  13. Mary
    July 26th, 2011 @ 5:15 pm

    Thank you for your response. It makes perfect sense, and I can’t tell you how much I admire you for taking such wonderful care of your little boy under such difficult circumstances.

  14. beachmum
    July 26th, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

    Stunning post. I love the analogy. You are a gifted writer.

  15. KristinaYellow
    July 26th, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

    Wow. I love that you aren’t willing to settle–even if it means going through some heartache now. I cannot wait to see how the next few weeks, months, and more go for you. I can honestly say I happily anticipate much laughter, much wine, and lots of funny stories about your little one–and seeing how much happier your life will be. HUGS

  16. Silvrheart
    July 27th, 2011 @ 9:07 am

    LOVE this piece – so sorry for the pain, but it made for some gooood writing : )

  17. Jax
    July 30th, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

    Wow, that was even therapeutic for ME just to read it!

  18. Sara
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

    I know this post was days ago… but it was on my mind for some reason today, and I came back to find it. I guess I just wanted you to know I’m thinking happy thoughts for you!

  19. Judy
    August 7th, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

    Oh smart lady. Nature was, is and always will be my respite from the trials of life, it is my time with God. If I’m upset, it instantly calms me to sit in my garden and watch nature all around me. We are all connected in every minute detail and are here for each other when needed, but we have to learn to see it, feel it, smell the good things all around each of us instead of wallowing in whatever miserable life’s lesson we’ve endured. It’s a choice every single day. I remember watching the poor mother birds coming back and forth to feed her clutch, she looked exhausted and frayed around her feathers, I felt like that haggard mama bird many, many times but she kept going and so did I. It took me years to figure this out, soooo very happy to see that you nailed it sooner in your journey!

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