It was hard to see. So, he pushed his large, fuzzy, black head between the fence slats for a better look.
“Oh, you came to say ‘hello?’” I said as I walked over to rub its protruding head.
My steers were curious. They hadn’t seen me working in my vineyard for more than six months. That neglect had come to an end; it was vineyard-pruning time.
Now that most of my vines are several years old, they’re beginning to have large trunks, which serve as engines of growth. When I began to prune, I admired their size and strength.
I could see last year’s growth all tangled along the trellis system. It was astonishing and a little overwhelming so, I started to prune at the top, just about at my eye level. Then, I worked methodically down each plant, right down to the base of each trunk, learning valuable lessons as I progressed.
• Take time to recognize growth. It’s easy to live day-by-day without noticing the power of accumulated progression. We’re all taking in experience and knowledge as we go about daily activities. Yet, sometimes it feels as if the lessons you and I are learning are so overwhelming that we haven’t made any personal progress. If you’ve been neglecting an accounting of your progress, make sure to stop for a few hours and take note of the person you’ve grown to be. It will fill you with satisfaction and help you reclaim your desired path.
• Realign your growth objectives. I’ve taken the time to create a defined path of growth for the plants in my vineyard. I did this so I could maximize output, the number of grapes produced. Pruning is a necessary process to make sure the vines stay on the path I’ve created for them.
The personal goals you’ve created for yourself act as the same kind of “trellis” guide. The annual pruning ritual allows me to cut away the old growth, sometimes gone wildly astray, so I can redefine the path and create opportunity for new, vigorous and prolific production. Use your personal pruning time to redefine your goals. It will create a strong base and naturally open the path for new opportunities to come to you.
• Pay attention to your base. When I prune, my vines I make sure to go right down to the base of the trunk. I do this because even though I pruned the year before, I often find undesirable shoots coming right out of the base of the trunk. Such shoots aren’t part of my designed trellis system, so they don’t fit in with my plans.
This year I found a couple of large shoots that had been snaking along the ground hidden by taller grass. I clipped them off at the base and cleared the grass away. Unwanted shoots and unruly grass rob the whole vine of needed water and oxygen. A strong trunk, base, cleared of competing growth, will allow planned growth to take advantage of all the nutrients produced by the plant’s roots.
Use your pruning time to focus on your base and then remove competing distractions. It will pave the way for your planned growth to flourish.
My vineyard has been flourishing. I knew that to be the case, but until I had invested the time to do my annual pruning, I really didn’t understand to what extent. At the end of the day, I stood next to a huge pile of detached vines now removed from their trunks. I looked at the pile and then looked back at the curious heads poking between the fence rails.
“Wow! The growth from last year is amazing!” I said to those supportive steers. They simply looked back, fluttered their ears a little and licked their snout before walking away to focus on the new growth grass laid out before them.
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.