This morning started normally (well, it’s been ‘normal’ for a couple of weeks) with an early morning run. It was beautiful but not spectacular morning, with a tinge of pink in the sky and some small pockets of mist clinging to the hills. After showering and breakfast, normality was abandoned. We decided to opt out of church this morning. Instead we will go this evening to hear That Hideous Man concluding his series on Ecclesiastes.
This meant that we had a large chunk of a day with no specific plans, which also allowed some space for thinking.
Yesterday we went to visit my parents. My dad is finding it difficult to maintain his garden, and he wanted a small tree removed. So we took a variety of tools and gardening clothes with us to do it for him.
True to form it started to rain as the removal exercise reached the point of no return. So I pressed on, getting wet and covered in soil and mud. Every time that I have removed a tree or shrub I have the same experience. Eighty percent of the job is done fairly quickly, but there are always a few roots that are buried deep or are hidden away – and this is the bit that takes the time. Anyway, I knew that I was nearing the end, when my mum came out to give me a telling off – it was wet and I should come in. The first bit was obvious! The second bit was a judgement call – it was getting very wet, but I was nearly there. I decided to keep going, and a few minutes later the last root was cut and the stump came out.
Due to the weather, we weren’t able to complete the clearing up, but we’d done the important bit. My parents will be able to do some of the clearing up (I took away the heavy stuff) or it can wait until our next visit.
It was only after we had removed the tree that I realised how much of an issue it had been for both of my parents. Maybe it was just a generous display of gratitude, but I got the impression that this tree had been a major problem for them. Removing the tree did open up a bit more light in their garden, but for them it was as if the whole garden had been liberated from a shadow that had hung over it for years. What might seem to me to be a minor change, was for them a significant improvement, and had I given up they would have been left with their problem for a few weeks.
My conclusion – sometimes the biggest changes can come from apparently small adjustments.
By way of a postscript, I spent almost as long this morning cleaning up the tools that I as had used, as I did taking the tree out. But as I removed the grime, I was able to do some thinking and that can’t be a bad thing, can it?