by David Mas Masumoto ("Mahs Mahs-ooh-moe-toe"), Peach & Grape Farmer and Author, Epitaph for a Peach, Pruning
My thoughts turn to the work of pruning.
Ideally, the first blasts of winter have left their mark and strip the trees of leaves.
But I've seen antsy farmers prune while lots of leaves still hang in the tree.
The work is slow, and it's hard to see.
I delay my pruning because, for me, vision is crucial.
The art of pruning involves seeing into the future.
I can easily spot the dead branches by their dried, dark, almost black wood.
But it's hard to envision new growth and the new shape the tree will take two or three or four years from now.
When I prune, I have to keep that vision in mind.
Otherwise, I'll hesitate and grow timid and insecure,
as I gaze down the just-worked row and see all the butchered trees and fallen limbs lying in the dirt.
With each dead limb, there's hope for new growth.
That's why I enjoy this part of pruning: I'm always working with the future.
I'm like a bonsai gardener with my peach trees, shaping each tree for the long term.
When working with dying trees, I feel one of the most important and strongest emotions a farmer has: a sense of hope.