The Trumpet Vine House

I remember walking by a yard on my street and I noticed a man working in the flower beds. In the corner was a giant flowering bush and it really stood out against all the other small, pruned shrubs he was hacking at. So I said, "Wow, I never noticed what a gorgeous tree was growing there!" He snipped back, "Oh that thing? My wife takes care of that. I’m not allowed to touch it." To which I replied, "you don’t like how big it is?" knowing all too well his sheers were pulling like a magnet towards it. "Just look at it! It’s taking over!" I just smiled and said, "Well, I like it!!" and I moved on.

What I wanted to say was, "It’s the only thing I like in your yard. The rest looks like a kid’s bad bowl haircut." But, uh…I just didn’t go there. ;)
I do understand that when you don’t have a very big yard, you don’t want to give up some of the space because it’s already tight quarters. But I guess I saw that tree as adding some life to his cramped space and it caught my eye. Cut grass and hacked hedges don’t really make me look twice.

It reminds me of children. Many children grow up in apartments and townhouses where there isn’t a lot of space. I don’t think this is ideal of course, but it doesn’t have to be a problem. Many families who live in tight quarters still manage to go to the beach, the parks, hiking trails and lakes to allow their children’s spirits to expand and grow. But sadly, when many children try to express themselves, even the people with big homes want to cut their branches back suggesting they might get dirt in the pretty room of their home. Quite often many grow up and don’t see their true potential because they were over-pruned.

But like a good gardener with a green thumb, they can prune the dead stuff away and direct the child to grow in a way that they can reach their true potential…where they can be the flowering tree they were meant to be where others see them for what they were supposed to be.

I don’t think that everything needs acres and acres to grow properly either. Now, coming from a 33 acre farm, you probably won’t take my analogy seriously, but I have had my share of cramped city apartment living too. HA! I am reminded of the Trumpet Vine House my Dad built for us. Basically, he took some old cedar rails and in popsicle-stick building fashion (but on a bigger scale of course) stuck four in the ground straight up and four across the tops of them to connect them. (I think there were some other support boards, but those are the main ones I remembered). Trumpet Vine was planted at the base of each and allowed the vine to completely take over only cutting away room for a doorway. We spent a large amount of our childhood playing in that thing. The hummingbirds would come and it was one of our favorite clubhouses. (We also made clubhouses out of pig stalls, but I’ll save that for another time)

This thing wasn’t big, but the Vine was allowed to do what it was intended to do, go rather crazy and grow with a purpose. As a result, it was the first thing people would notice coming over to visit. In all those acres, it shone.
I really believe each of us has the unique ability to flower and grow, but I know I have felt over-pruned and hacked up for a lot of my adult life. Many locations and situations haven’t been ideal for me to grow to my full potential, but I also think we prune because we think we should. Everyone around us is over-pruned right? Why bother blooming? It’s too awkward for us to stand out like a sore thumb and who wants the attention?

Maybe the best thing we can do is just let the vine crawl over the space around us for awhile, knowing it can be cut back if needed. Why do we need that pretty room in our house? Could we not instead convert it into a craft area? Why should the basement be only for watching movies, could a music room take over instead or at least add a Disco ball and have parties? Does the car REALLY have to be parked there or could a workshop go there? (Ok, I know, I grew up in Canada, I hate chipping ice off too)

In relationships as well as parenting, I’ve seen and experienced too many gardeners. We want to keep the place too clean, so we won’t pull out games to play. We won’t allow anyone to bake in the kitchen because we don’t want to do dishes. I’ve even seen parents say no to kids pulling the furniture back to dance, because they don’t want "new leg marks in the carpet".

If a shorn-looking home is what you are going for and you are perfectly content, then I say, keep on doing what you are doing! But if we are longing for a Trumpet-Vine House or some interesting shrubbery, I believe we have to start allowing not only each other but ourselves to grow with minimal pruning. It’s affecting our mental well-being and depression is at an all-time high!
But hey, that might just be me again wanting to get back to the country. ;)

ROCK ON my friends!
Karen :)

"People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die." ~Plato

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