Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Better the devil you know: Facing a demon in the garden

I dug out no less than three blackberry root balls in the garden yesterday. For some reason, I needed to do hard physical labour so the weeds got an absolute shellacking.

As I wrestled with the stubborn, deep roots that would not give ground, I mused about the fact that these things have been here in the corner of our front yard for over a year. I've barely given them a cursory glance in all that time. About six months ago, when the bushes were in full pelt, strangling the beautiful native shrubs around them, I had a go at Steve for not containing them and overpowering them before they got so out of control. Dumbfounded, my husband (correctly) assumed it was better to simply don his gloves and get hacking than argue any rational points he had regarding timing of removal, proper equipment to do the job once and for all, or his already long To Do list for that weekend.

But the problem didn't go away. I cursed the return of the blackberries. Having been poisoned, they were weaker now. But they were beginning to grow and get healthier again, having staked a good position for themselves.

There is a young grevillea that I planted the year we bought this house. There is also a menacing, determined blackberry stump with a trunk thicker than the grevillea right beside it, strangling the life out of it. I can see the native is weakening, its leaves are yellowing. The blackberry is gaining strength beside it. They are fighting for the nutrients in the ground, both of them struggling to survive. I can't have that happen again. It's time for the plant to be saved. No more letting things take their course on their own.

So I intervened.

As I pulled and yanked at this blackberry yesterday, having conquered three other smaller ones nearby and feeling high on "Take THAT!" power, one of its thorns pricked my thigh deeply through my pants. I felt like I had been bitten by a snake. When I looked down, I saw that it had sunk into my flesh and I had to delicately remove it, being careful to pull it out the way it went in. I don't know if it was the rush of the pain registering in my head or the hunger for that euphoric feeling of the roots giving way to my force, but I suddenly felt like I was doing battle with the demons of my childhood.

I don't speak of my molestation on here. I don't feel it necessary. I will never go into detail, that's for sure. That, too, is not necessary. Suffice to say, for three years (at least) from the age of six, my innocent life as a child was stunted, interrupted, stolen. These were not sporadic, random happenings. These were systematic, ever-present, regular sessions. I know the scenes well. I know my feelings about it all very well. The healing is all but finished.

An event happened recently that enabled me to see just how far I have healed in the past couple of years  (this is something that has taken me over thirty years to properly and safely release). The push-pull yesterday with that unrelenting, strong blackberry was no accident. I began to curse it under my breath in my sunny, beautiful front yard. I felt safe. I felt in control. I felt I could over-power that fucking sucker of life and save the beautiful young plant trying to blossom and grow alongside it.

It is a delicate operation - their roots go deep, side by side. One false move or a premature stab and I risk severing the life cord of the precious plant by mistake. So I backed away from the project for the day. I was starting to get a little stab-happy with the spade, like a woman possessed.

The cut. Running parallel with the vein. An ass-hatty reminder
 that this thing HAS to stop walking beside me.

The blackberry remains, for the moment. It did not yield. But it will. It stung me, as if to remind that it is still there. Still present. It won't let go without a fight. But it is weakened now. I really worked hard at destroying it. I will conquer that invader. To save the organism that is now healing beside it.

I have scars. The blackberry got me. Again and again it got me. But I know I can beat it now. Those barbs don't sting nearly so much with the realisation that I am stronger than it. It has to go. I felt the roots giving. I'll not let the sun go down today without removing it ceremoniously from its place. Its purpose has been served.

Thank you, blackberry, for what you've shown me today. Now... piss off!

Returning to the back yard in the late afternoon sun, I took a seat and was treated to the LGBB practicing her skipping with the skipping rope. I gazed past the roof of our house and saw our spectacular liquid amber, naked in all its late winter glory. It was leaning towards the sun. I had never noticed how much so until that moment.

It knows what to do. And look at the tall, thriving tree it has become in its lifetime.

We all know what to do, to survive.  Don't we?

Where are the barbs snagging you in your life? Are they deep-rooted? Have they served their purpose and is it time for you to do some weeding?

Don't forget to lean towards your life-giving Sun.

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