Last December Peggy, my auntie’s cavoodle, was biting the overgrown branches off one of our trees in the backyard. Branches being the choking hazards they are, I chased her around the yard to get the sticks out of her mouth. And then she went back to the tree and bit some more. So I put her inside, got the garden trimmers from under the kitchen sink and snipped away the branches. And then, with the tree looking more and more tidy, something took me by surprise – relief.
Thanks to COVID I, like so many others, lost my job and by necessity had to step back into the benefits system and the job hunt I so dread. By that point in the backyard with Peggy it had been another unfruitful week and I was so wound up chasing jobs and hearing nothing back, once I finally did something that gave me an immediate result the tension I didn’t realise I was holding dropped away.
In the burst of free associations that followed I remembered Marie Kondo and her “Konmari Method” for tidying and decluttering one’s house. I never jumped on the “spark joy” bandwagon. Maybe it’s because I dislike it when something that’s originally free like folding one’s shirts is turned into a commodity as part of a personal brand. Still, in a capitalist society we all need to make money somehow.
But pruning trees remains free of charge and far more giving.