Amy's Landscape

Views from the Florida Landscape

ORANGE ATTITUDE

The heady perfume of spring orange blossoms came wafting along the morning breeze to envelope and intoxicate me.  Its alluring scent drew me daily until I could no longer resist and with nippers in hand I gathered the fragrant blossoms with abandon.   Vases throughout my home dispensed the captured aroma for days afterward.

 

But with every flower I cut, there would be one less orange to enjoy in its time.  For at the heart of every  tender blossom resided the beginning of one tiny, green, orb that if nurtured patiently instead of sacrificed for a momentary pleasure would in time produce the sweetest of fruits.  I could not have my orange and smell it too.  I would not capture that aroma to fill my home in spring and still have my orange’s sweet nectar in winter.

 

How often we trade in greater reward we could have because we refuse to wait, to develop the patience we need for the better pay off.  Entitlement and impatience seem the order of our day.  We must have it now, lacking the ability to count the cost and when the bill comes due it must be someone else’s fault.

 

Mine was a generation from a cold era, the first where divorce came out of the closet and into the norm.  Our parents didn’t connect their freedom to abandon the family with a toll on us and we suffered the loss as walking wounded, bent on bandaging it by way of smothering our children with all the affection and attention left wanting in our own souls.  And so we did.

 

This generation grew up being told they could do anything, they were the most special generation ever.  Every child got a ribbon and award, no matter how poorly they did, how little talent they possessed or effort they put in, in that particular arena.

 

Baby felt special indeed, but in our generation of parents, it went over the wall.  We felt compelled to give Baby the best our money could buy.  Money equated to love and we bought it for Baby in record quantities, passing on a mentality that Baby should have it and have it NOW.

 

Baby morphed into teens who had to have the newest at all times and marketers were only too happy to oblige, creating fresher items destined for obsolescence in six months’ time, creating an ever-increasing appetite for ever-changing items.

 

It became easier for this generation’s parents to pass out a $20 or a new ‘i’ whatever than to say no and hold the line.  These entitled brats became college students who didn’t necessarily earn the grades but demanded the place, and used college loans to buy their way through in style, told by my generation that they’d be making huge sums the moment they exited college, because after all, they were so special. But we hadn’t had the guts to tell our kids no, or to pull up their pants.  We dared not teach them that piercings and tattoos don’t fly in the adult world, and when they graduated, it turned out they weren’t so special out there, as they’d been lead to believe they would be.

 

Oddly, my generation’s mentality would poise itself to eat their generation alive, because we grew up hearing ‘read the fine print’ and their generation grew up scanning, moving ever faster on the quest for more.

 

Few of them took responsibility to read the fine print on their student loans or car loans or home loans.  Now their student loans have ballooned, mortgages are foreclosed and prospective employers pass them over as immature caricatures of reality TV due to their inability to dress or act appropriately in a given situation or the realm of business.

 

These child adults don’t get it and they don’t know why the world has turned against them.  The world is giving them the spanking we refused to, teaching them that there really are unchangeable laws of the universe, and that the sun, sadly to them, does not revolve around their wants and desires.  I wonder what the backlash will be for the next generation because we taught this one to pick the blossom, without teaching them the rewards of patience, of waiting long enough to reap the orange.

Advertisements

March 10, 2012 Posted by | Florida Outdoors, Landscaping, Life, Nature, Parenting, Random, Relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Show Queens of the South

Azaleas are the show queens of the South.  Where the Carolinas and Tennessee may boast their versions of that rhododendron with abundant pride, Florida considers itself the Azalea capital of the world.

Azalea varieties abound profusely, from the petite Duc DeRohan to the spectacular Indica Formosa that grows to tree size.  Azaleas come in countless colors and combinations including white, red, every variant of magenta or purple and Florida boasts them all with rightful vanity in a spring to summer display to beat all challengers.

The one thing they have in common is that they are acid loving plants that flourish in a rich, organic environment.  The wrong soil will quickly spell an end to the life of the most hearty azalea, where the right acidic soil found under every spreading oak will cause azaleas to thrive even in the wild with no human intervention.

Are you in the right soil?  Do you surround yourself with people who challenge you to be your best, confront you when you’re off the path and encourage you when you’re onto something good?  Or are you allowing yourself to be drained by others with no end to the flow?

What’s your environment like?  Are you surrounded with negativity, by people who continually zero in on what’s wrong or look for problems to steep themselves in?

Do you thrive on drama instead of admitting your contribution to the situation so you can grow up, change and move forward?

Do you get enough fresh air and sunshine, taking time to get outdoors to praise God for whatever beauty you find around you, and thank him for what you DO have instead of whining for more?

What do you focus your thoughts on?  Are you enriched with the nutrients you find in the Word of God and input that uplifts and challenges you, or are you sluggish and isolated because you don’t know what God wants for you or expects of you?

Maybe you need a soil check.  Ask yourself those questions and examine where your head and heart have been lately.  Next, admit to God and others where you’ve been off the mark, ask Christ to forgive you and get moving in a new direction.  It’s not as hard as it seems,  but it takes humility to look honestly at our soil and make the changes we need to thrive and not wilt.

January 27, 2012 Posted by | Environment, Florida Outdoors, Gardening, God in the everyday, Landscaping, Nature, Parenting, Relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s Your Spanish Moss?

Nothing gives so fine a touch to landscaping as edging.  The whirring metal blade carves a distinct line, making every planter look crisp, every driveway or sidewalk appear clean and orderly.

But all Southern landscapers know that just one touch of that blade’s tip on a piece of Spanish moss and instantaneously, the moss will be drawn in and wound tightly around the blade housing.

The smart landscaper knows this to be an inescapable reality and will humble her (or him) self to bend down and move the offending moss out of the way of the blade before the consequences come due.

But, over again, I would say to myself, “This time, it will be different.  Just this once, I will be the victor; I will do it my way without the same outcome, without the same result…”

And every time, without exception, I would have to relearn the lesson.  No matter how fast the blade turned, no matter how much I revved the motor to plow through the moss, the moss always won.

The moments I intended to save by refusing to bend down and collect the moss were lost, and the payment was minutes wasted picking out every tiny piece of moss wound tightly around the blade and housing, sometimes so tightly I had to stop everything and get a pair of needle-nose pliers to pick away at the tighter strands.

Why do we continually think we can get away with something we’ve already seen won’t work; that somehow, even though we do the same dumb thing, this time it will be different, somehow WE are different and we won’t pay the penalties?

God puts consequences in place so we’ll do the smart thing, the right thing, the good thing, for us and those in our lives.  Why do we choose to go back to that thing we know is wrong for us, hoping somehow this time it will be different?  How many times do we have to do the same thing and get the same result until we choose to plug in a different move or humble ourselves and do it his way instead of ours?

What is that one thing you refuse to give in over and give up to God’s sovereignty?

January 27, 2012 Posted by | Environment, Florida Outdoors, Gardening, God in the everyday, Landscaping, Nature, Parenting, Relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pruning of Me and the Crepe Myrtle

Crepe Myrtles are abundant in the South, their showy poms on display with great regularity from spring to fall in every shade of vibrant purple through delicate pink imaginable, even to lacy whites.  Yet every winter, no matter how mild, these proud giants are brought to naught, stripped of their elegant beauty and barely a leaf remains, mere naked frames before the winter scene.

The prudent gardener knows, though, that before the first spring’s tender leaf appears, major surgery must be performed.  Across the Florida landscape, gardeners enact what appears to be a violent attack upon these vulnerable beauties, severely pruning them back to nearly half their size, down to meager sticks rising a few feet from the ground.

How could this process be anything but cruel?  Doesn’t the gardener know what these grand ladies have already endured, stripped and laid bare before the world in humiliation?  Why chop down such meager remains when surely the leaves will return and all will be well once again?

Yet those who spare their Crepe Myrtles this mortification will find them spindly and weak throughout the coming year.  Poms will return but thinner, less bountiful.  It turns out the severe pruning promotes, and in fact ensures, new growth.  And not only new growth but stronger branches, more abundant leaves, denser poms.

Within just a few weeks of this pruning holocaust these genteel lovelies sprout forth multiple branches and leafy decor almost overnight.

Often I think of myself as the Crepe Myrtle and our Father as the Master Gardener.  How I detest his pruning, the agony of the cutting, the sorrow of the loss of the branches he cuts away.  How often has he called me to give someone up, to lose something I cherished, and I begged him not to love me enough to do the work?

At the time, it’s quite impossible to believe his surgery could ever be a good thing.  Yet later, after the tears have fallen and I’ve laid down the fight, I look back to see he didn’t take anything I didn’t need to lose.

I learned something I needed to find out.  I‘m enriched with more understanding, compassion, wisdom than I had before the pruning began.   I, like the Crepe Myrtle, am stronger and more beautiful for his blade, cutting away dead wood I didn’t even know needed to be removed.

What’s your dead wood; what’s the part you’re hanging  onto?  Are you allowing God to prune off the dead wood of your life or holding on to what you‘ve got, willing to settle for the spindly life you have because it’s what you’re used to, when he’s offering new growth and promise of a more vibrant life? Let something go today, something or someone you’ve be clinging to, and dare to believe God loves you enough to do something different, for which you’ll be richer in a sense you hadn’t even seen before.

January 27, 2012 Posted by | Environment, Florida Outdoors, Gardening, God in the everyday, Landscaping, Nature, Relationships | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments