If there's one thing I'm horrible at -- and trust me, this isn't false modesty, or some sort of self-deprecating statement made in a weak attempt to get you to argue with me -- it's gardening. Plants cower when I walk by. I assure you that I've tried gardening, and even sometimes have succeeded in making something green grow for a short while -- but inevitably, my plants start to wither, leaves and branches begin turning brown, and eventually they expire with a "what the hell did I do to you?" expression on their desiccated little limbs.
Okay, I might have exaggerated a little in that last paragraph. But not by much.
Marcus, however, is really quite talented at gardening. (I suspect it's because he's English. Something about the English and their gardening, man. It's genetic, I tell you.) He knows exactly what types of pots to plant things in. He fashions crude but effective self-watering systems, using a beer bottle, a rubber band and a stick of chewing gum. (Exaggerating again, but not by much.) He brings victims of my "gardening" back from the dead. Literally. I don't know how he does it.
One of the most mind-blowing things I've watched him do, however, is when he takes a perfectly healthy plant -- taller than me, sometimes -- and grabs his shears and prunes it to within an inch of its life. I'll stand agog as a previously 6-foot tree is now no taller than 6-inches, convinced that it is no more. "Karen, I haven't cut it all -- there's still some there. And it will grow back," Marcus always assures me. "You'll see. Sometimes you have to cut them back for them to flourish."
And damned if he isn't always right.
During the past few weeks, I've entertained wild thoughts about the direction of my career -- everything from going back to university for various creative degrees to going back to law (admittedly, some thoughts far more fleetingly than others). All the while, I've been wondering why it is that I'm not content to simply continue doing what I'm doing -- after all, the last 5 years have served me well.
It was only when taking the photograph above, I began to think perhaps my unease has to do with a sudden realization that it's time to cut back some -- but not all -- of what has been working in my life, in order for something new to flourish.
And I admit there's something rather encouraging in that thought.
This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) -- a shot a day for the month of November. You should join me: it's a lesson in stopping and looking, improving your photography skills, and appreciating the beauty and light around you.
Click here to see who's participating (and sign up your own blog, if you'd like!). And if you tag your photos with #NaPhoPoMo on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or Google+, your image will automatically be seen here. I hope you join in the fun - and I can't wait to see what you capture.