Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
Thats how the light gets in
Leonard Cohen, Anthem
I was walking through a dense grove of older spruce trees the other day. By all appearances, most of the trees were on the downward slide of their life spans, and not looking very healthy. Its an eerie sight, rusting branches, old mans beard, and lichen as far as the eye can see. But then I came upon a clearing, no more than a dozen feet in diameter, and there it was... life. About five or six of these elderly brethren were reaching out to join hands with branches laden with new growth. The one spot where the light penetrated allowed life to flourish and continue.
I like to reflect on the universal themes and think about how they impact our jobs and lives as greenkeepers. I have been particularly struck by the light analogy for a while now, but these old spruce trees brought it into sharper focus over the weekend.
As superintendents we can all appreciate the benefits of light. The bottom line is the plants that we agonize over day in and day out require sunlight to survive. Light is the very thing that turf plants depend on for nourishment. Sure we can help out now and again with all manner of different fertilizers, but take away the light and it becomes a never ending struggle to keep them happy. We push them to the edge of their survival to achieve the impossible, all the while cheating them out of light they so desperately need.
The funny thing is how simple it is to allow the light through just remove the trees or shrubs that are causing the problem. It's just that easy. Right? Alas, it's never that easy, and there are usually many obstacles (Member Attachment Syndrome) that stand in the way of simply removing the shade. These obstacles force us to hire consultants and perform in-depth shade studies, just to justify twig removal.
What obstacles stand in the way of letting light into your own life? We all have barriers that can impede optimum personal health. Whether it's stress, relationship issues or poor eating habits, we all could use a bit of honest reflection regarding the things that block the light.
These things are often simple in nature, but can appear very complicated to deal with. Habits have the ability to trick our minds into thinking that change is virtually impossible, and can manufacture all sorts of tricks to keep us in a rut. The interesting thing is that once we set our intention on tackling said obstacle, life instantly improves and we wonder why we didn't deal with it sooner.
So let there be light. Let all of our turf be free of shade. Take the time to look at the offending branches, trunks and limbs (literally and figuratively) and honestly decide which ones we can live without. (Just don't forget a wide brimmed hat and plenty of sunscreen)