Maybe this isn’t the typical ‘Spring in the Garden’ photo but it speaks volumes for me. Dare I say it is fraught with symbolism? It’s a picture of the sunrise behind my old garage which I haven’t been able to see for years due to an overgrown privet shrub.
Not exactly Yeats but stay with me.
When I bought my house thirteen years ago, the privet barely reached the top of the garage. Everyone told me to let it grow because I would need it to cover the ugly spot that would be left when that rickety old garage collapsed any minute now.
A lot has happened in those thirteen years. I lost both of my parents. I published nine books. I’ve bounced around in the cage of failure and success, not always certain which side I’d landed on at any given moment. I was busy to the point of exhaustion. Through it all, I let that privet grow while hail, storms, even whole trees battered that old garage.
This spring I decided to do better. I looked at my massively overgrown backyard. I never felt right cutting back the privet. I felt that it had taken the trouble to grow so who was I to cut it away? My yard, my space, my life was an open buffet and the privet had come to feast.
While I was fighting to find my place in the outside world, this invasive species had choked out all the life and beauty from my garden.
So I went out with loppers and a handsaw. I hacked and chopped and hauled and raked. That privet had sent out runners that were killing everything. They were taking the roof off of my old, trustworthy garage. They blocked the sun from any veggies I might want to grow.
Now? Now the morning sun lands nicely where my tomatoes will go. There’s a good breeze and loads of light on my porch. The dogwoods have more room and so do I. And what do you know? I’m writing again. More importantly, I’m enjoying writing again.
A good writer knows not to beat a reader to death with symbolism so I’ll leave it at this. My trusty old garage is still standing despite the naysayers and it’s nice to see the sun rising over my garden once again.
S.G. Redling is a Huntington native, a graduate of Georgetown University, and a fifteen-year veteran of the WKEE morning radio show. After hanging up her headphones, she turned to fiction. She has released eight mind-bending thrillers and sci-fi novels, including the best-seller FLOWERTOWN, DAMOCLES, the Dani Britton series; the Nahan series, and BAGGAGE, her first novel set in West Virginia. She currently working on a new travel mayhem series, as well as giving writing workshops, and promoting tourism in Cabell and Wayne Counties. She also waves her arms around a lot.