Lessons of the Grape Vine

When we bought our property, we inherited Concord grape vines.  Since Mother Nature decided to have a couple "up" days (of her seemingly unstable displays of behavior lately) and let the sun shine recently, I decided to tackle the vines.

I don't really know what I'm supposed to do with them, but as I sat there looking at them, I decided to just jump in.  On the outside, they were a tangled web of branches, a mess really. They haven't yet budded or blossomed and are somewhat unsightly.  

I decided to start with the obviously withered and desiccated branches, knowing that by clipping those away, more energy can be given to the younger branches.  

I saw that the grapes were being interfered with by a dogwood bush. Though these branches are red, attractive and quite pretty, they interfere with the growth of the grape vines. When they leaf out they cover and block the life giving energy the vines require.  These had to be clipped away.

I clipped away slowly, looking at each vine, choosing where to nip it.  Some of the branches were extremely long.  The extremely over-extended branches were snipped with the thought that they were so far removed from their strong foundation that they were weak and lost growing upwards into a nearby pine tree.  

The bases of all these vines are old, weathered and thick.  They are strong main stalks that all the subsequent generations of vines have sprouted.   Their roots run deep, and though they are quite tattered, they stubbornly remain.

We have lived here long enough that I have seen these vines bear fruit several seasons. Some years they have born hideous amounts of grapes, other years the harvest is sparse.  The vines productivity is usually affected by things out of their control like wind or birds and deer pecking away at the fruit.

As I thinned and clipped, I realized these vines were a lot like life.  We are all a tangled mess at times.  Sometimes the best way to tackle an issue is to just jump in.   We may or may not have blossomed yet.   We have the life sucked from us by those relationships that are desiccated and dead.

We all possess productivity and purpose but can get lost in a tangle of our own life's vines.  We get distracted by the pretty, easy and attractive things that can pull us away and block us from that which gives us energy.  We become over-extended by distractions, obligations, tasks and the need to be connected at all times.  We grow thinner and weaker, until we look down from 20 feet up a pine tree to the foundation that lies far away from us.  

Eventually we may find ourselves looking at our bases... those relationships that have weathered us and the storms we have brought.  The family members and friends that have tolerated our pecking, as the vines have withstood the irksome birds noshing on ripe fruit.  They have stood stubborn and strong, supporting  and sustaining us.  

And it just remains to be seen how we will bud and blossom and what will the fruit resemble that we will bear?