Ready the Roses for Winter

Image description: a small red rose bud in a washed out filter.

I won’t make you read ‘til the end: this is a great big giant metaphor for life right now!

I needed to get my rose bushes ready for the winter time. I didn’t want to do this because I have neglected weeding them for quite some time now and I was really anxious about seeing the rose bed needing a lot of work. I’d managed to keep them watered, but I watered the weeds along with them. For months.

Of course when I got out there not only did the bed need a lot of work… there were also a ton of leaves that needed to be gone through before I could even begin to weed. I wondered if I should even try to do it at all. Would it really make a difference with winter coming? I started digging through the leaves and I became really worried about the creepy crawlies that I was going to unearth. My mind even conjured up reptilian demons lurking beneath the layer of leaves.

By only looking out the corner of my eye I managed to clear the leaves. There were no demons under the leaves but there was a mess. So many weeds I didn’t even know where to begin. Again, I thought about not even trying. It just seemed overwhelming.

I knew that I cared about my roses but I was also feeling guilty because I hadn’t taken the time to come out and weed the garden. There were reasons, of course. Good reasons having to do with my health and my day job and my overall life. But I still felt bad about it.

Finally, I decided to just start and do something— it didn’t even have to be a “good enough” job, it just had to be a little bit better than what was there.

So I started. Right at the beginning a thorn got me through my glove and that pain ushered in all these other little aches and pains in my body and my hands. The desire to quit started to show up pretty fiercely.

But I decided to just and keep going a little bit longer. I got a garden tool to help. As I kept moving, just one little corner where I could see dirt felt like a huge victory.

I started moving down the bed and I started realizing how good it felt to move. The air was chilly but because I was moving I wasn’t cold. I started to stretch my legs and morphed into some rose weeding yoga positions that felt really good to my body.

It felt good to move my muscles, it felt good to breathe the air, it felt good to feel the sunshine as the day wore on into the evening. As I started pulling and weeding more vigorously I realized that this is exactly where I wanted to be. I really cared about my roses and what they represent. I really cared about where I am in my life and where I am going and I wanted to do something that would make my future self proud.

When I was done weeding, was it perfect? No, absolutely not perfect. But much better than if I had not done anything and very much better than what I thought I was going to do if I had just tried to do something, even if it wasn’t good enough.

Sometimes the answer is no. Sometimes you just can’t keep going. Sometimes it’s not worth keeping going. But sometimes it is and even if you’ve been neglectful, even if you’ve had to take time off to rest, even if you’ve had to take time off to escape, there’s still going to be a future you looking back on now. There’s still going to be a time where you will want to move and be outside and feel the sunshine.

I feel like I’m in for a long winter and that is a little bit overwhelming. But at least when I go to bed tonight, and at least when I’m stepping outside into a frosty winter morning once again facing the daily grind, I will know that slumbering beneath the layer of snow and cold are some roses that I really cared about. And that when the time comes, they will bloom for me again.

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