Monday, June 6, 2011

Hard Work


     I have a long stretch of azaleas that line my driveway - easily 75 feet of old growth, large azaleas about 5' tall. Every year, they bloom magnificently, Whoever planted them over 50 years ago did a magnificent job mixing colors and different azalea strains together. We get a continuous blooming for several weeks from the different varieties.

    This year, however - the blooming was muted. Not as copious, not as spectacular. I walk by these bushes every day, without noticing. But this time, this year - I looked carefully at the azaleas, where I hadn't, previously. The azaleas are choked with an invasive vine we Southerners refer to as a chokeweed. They are devastating to plant life they overwhelm. They weave in and out, until they are hard to discern from the plant they are living upon. It is kudzu like in its tenacity, but luckily doesn't grow as fast.

     I spent this weekend, elbow deep in the azaleas - pulling, snipping, pruning. I removed all of the chokeweed, and discovered some alien vines covered in thorns in there, too. I was mosquito bitten, scratched, and I groused bitterly the entire time I was working in the azaleas. I removed bags of  yard trim, and my back and shoulders are warning me of the work I accomplished.

     As I bent over to clean the front walk of the remaining debris - I realized the deep parallel between what I had just experienced and accomplished, and Clean Eating.

     My inattention to my diet and nutrition led to a point in my life where I was unhealthy and was starting to feel the effects. My inattention to the azaleas caused them to start to not be as healthy, too. Processed food was my chokeweed. Removing the processed food was hard - really hard - just as removing the chokeweed was really a pain in the butt. I groused bitterly those first few weeks, and was definitely questioning the wisdom and ease at changing my lifestyle so drastically.

     But when I was done - when I turned and looked at the fruits of my labor...I realized it was all worth while. I realized that hard work got me where I needed to be, both with the azaleas and with my health.

I hadn't realized how I had shied away from doing what needed to be done for the betterment of myself. For the betterment of my azaleas.

I see it, now.