Passion Vine Pruning

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Cringing,

I cut away

bug infested vines

from stalk and root –

offer tender white filaments

moist dark space –

mineral rich earth

as nourishment.

Will you feed

your verdant

shoot –

the only one

to survive root stalk pruning?

 

A lot to ask, I know.

 

Emerald green spire,

I beg of you,

begin your spiral dance…

Our hands are clasped in prayer

as the Cranes settle in the field.

I imagine you thrive.

 

I own this act

of soulbody slaughter.

 

When I cut your leaves

away from healthy roots

I severed my own leaf

root connection too.

 

Last night

my belly roiled

in deep distress.

I dreamed I chopped down trees.

My body never lies.

 

Postscript:

Yesterday I pruned every vining tendril away from my beloved passion vine, the first one to root last spring after the death of her mother, a passionflower I had for 17 years…

My body responded to the brutal act of pruning with a rush of deep anxiety. The two hours I spent cleaning each severed vine in warm soapy water and sticking them in a bottle to root ( I hoped), re – potting the orignal roots and stalk in new earth seemed to last forever. After disinfecting the entire area where the plant grew I was exhausted.

This year, unlike the last, thanks to Iren who had the other passionflower, I rooted a number of new shoots so if I lost another one I wouldn’t feel so bereft.

Not true.

It is true that I feel less alone when I look over at the other vines, one of which has been showing blooms for months. But the trauma of having to prune so severely it could cause death (though I had no choice) unhinged me. My love for this particular vine is unique and tied up with my hope for her renewal… Each plant has her own soul and each one is as tied to my own as I am to hers…

I have never understood this root-ground connection but it stretches back to my childhood…

When I am forced to hurt one of my plants – even if one has spider mites that refused to be treated – my mind creates anxiety and my body becomes ill. This time even my dream-body had a lot to say…

How is it that so many many people can’t feel what I do? Plants and trees are our relatives and some of the best friends a person can have. How can we support their extinction when to do so is to seal our own fate?

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