Did I start too early? Too late?
Too soon and the cold will chill your roots. By the end of May, the rotting leaves will no doubt choke your roots. Now is fine.

It’s a grinding chore that revives you and centers me.
Last year there was no center, so you were left to someone else’s care and received a cruel hacking. And from the look, you paid a price. I’m sorry; I just barely had it in me to properly trim you this year. Your evident waning almost brought me to tears.

The winter was hard on you, too. And none of us is young anymore.
Just replant every five or eight years, they say. Seems a thoughtless choice. Most of you have been with me for more than two decades. Been through so much together. All of us show our time.

The snowblower strips the branches on the driveway’s edge. A statement of the obvious, but the scars are brutal. Another blow to your strength. But it’s likely the salt that has brought two of you to the brink.
Again, my apologies. I use only enough to ensure safe passage on the slope, use the mildest kind. But your nature isn’t tolerant to much of that at all. And combined with last year’s reckless cut surely nicked into what strength you had. Did that cost you time?

We’re together today. Warm, breezy, the sun illuminating all that is good and all that is not.

Will you grace me with your presence for one more year? Five years ago I estimated two years more. And we’re all still here. I know the day will come, but do I really? It’s always a sharp surprise.

The zen of trimming is that, in a peculiar abstract sense, you represent the women I know. You work to provide, just like the fine women I know best and love most. It is our mutual nature. Not the ladies who lunch, but when we do, we enjoy it deeply because we earned it ourselves. That is our pride. You provided lunch/sustenance to generations of bees, cover for countless insects and more than a few litters of bunnies. Respect. Yeah, you win.

Today the centering was there. I just didn’t like what I saw. I looked at you and everything looked different. When I looked up, everything looked different. The lovely smell, the buds, the promise is there, as expected. But what I saw beyond, everywhere, had little joy. There is an unwelcome weight.

It’s not your job to center me, to provide happiness. Just being there you do so. And for that I am grateful. I can’t account for the feelings, for the small agonies. I can only treat you with care and respect. And hope that will be enough for you to bloom.