The Prune: Prepare for summer by pruning stuff, clearing the mind

TODD ISN’T THE only thing that’s Sharp in this photo. But an axe to the closet, he suggests, liberates the mind and “prunes” the soul. submitted photo

by: Todd Sharp

Sometimes the deadwood just has to go.

Fruit trees grow better after pruning the deadwood out. A single leading branch focuses energy to grow fruit, giving the tree the best chance to prosper, flourish and reproduce. Maybe every living thing needs a little pruning.

I did.

In nature, deadwood is removed during strong winds, late season heavy snow falls and gravity.

Sometimes conscientious gardeners and arborists give trees a little help with the natural process and trim out some branches.

I’ve been writing Prune articles for five years now and have focused on ripe fruit. Celebrating the sweet, wrinkly side of life; reaping the harvest.

Perhaps I started this artist expression too early.

While concentrating on the fruits of life, I discovered I also need to prune the deadwood, clear out the clutter and focus on the core, before fully being able to reap the fruits of my lifes labors.

I wasn’t mature enough, although ripe enough.

I have started pruning and culling different aspects of my life.

My closet was full of clothes which had been with me a long time — some ratty old shirts from high school, baggy bottom pants, soup-stained ties, misshaped sweatshirts, crusty, dusty shoes — in total, seven huge garbage bags were passed on to Traded Treasures this winter.

I trimmed 24 feet of rod space down to 6 feet of dangling hangars and nearly empty dresser drawers.

Granted, I had help from a beautiful and charming, yet unrelenting and unapologetic, fashion consultant, but it was time for those wide, corduroy, pleated pants to go.

I am a product of the ’80s recycle, reuse generation. I held on too long.

Giving up the clutter of overworn and rarely used clothing freed space for a new, trimmed-down wardrobe and provided extra space to easily find what I am looking for.

Recently, I left behind furniture, lawn mowers, tools, dishes, a beautiful house.

It’s just stuff.

Now I can replace the stuff with items I want and need. I found out I don’t need a microwave oven, three lawn mowers, 20 different flavors of jelly, 150 feet of raspberries to pick, 30,000 square feet of garden and five acres of grass to mow every week.

I’m pining for a satisfied, uncluttered mind.

I was looking out the window, watching the beautiful blossoms on the apple trees and thinking about all the wonderful expectations we have every summer.

Hundreds of birds and thousands of blooms on the trees remind us of extraordinary expectations.

Yet, only a few apples make it to the fall, and fewer birds stay to make a nest. How do we give those buds and big dreams the best chance possible to flourish?

I plan to discover ways to cut out even more deadwood, be honest, take off the mask, become vulnerable and truthful in expectations and fully enjoy the fruits, talents and sweetness in others’ lives.

I cleared out a concise path with fewer encumbrances to allow for bringing additional sunlight and joy into living.

I left behind old, trivial, dusty thoughts, tossed out misconceptions and unproven realities to let fresh ideas with real truths flourish.

I’m glad I pruned the deadwood of my closets this winter, clearing a path for a fruitful summer.

Editor’s note: When not pruning his closet and brain, Todd Sharp is an advertising sales prune for the Green Laker, Express and The Ripon Commonwealth Press.