Usually one would prune foliage and trim hair. Why? Each grows and needs to be groomed to maintain a good healthy condition.
Today was a good day to prune some outdoor growth. It was slightly overcast. The temperature was somewhere in the mid-seventies (summer in Miami – that is a great day) with a hint of a breeze.
Initially the intent was only to pick up debris brought down by the rain. For this time of year (wet season) south Florida is about fifteen inches below expected/normal rainfall. The last two days brought some brief, heavy rainfall in my yard. And debris.
Just because it rained here, doesn’t mean that it rained a mile away. The rain shortage is still below normal.Summer rains (unless it is a tropical storm) tend to be localized. Sometimes I have actually seen the line. Rain to the right, no rain to the left. Weird but true.
While picking up fallen palm fronds and other stuff, I noticed a large plant climbing up one of the palms had again accumulated dead leaves. They pull away fairly easily. I started cleaning out the dead stuff, nearly dead stuff and stuff that will probably be nearly dead soon.
It is a huge plant. What was pulled off nearly filled the large trash can. Okay because pick-up is tomorrow. The plant looks full; no evidence of recent grooming.
Then there is a more dead than alive and poorly maintained old orange tree. The amazing thing is that it is even here.
During 1997 – 99 or about, some kind of citrus crud was quickly spreading through Miami-Dade County. The forestry service swarmed the county neighborhoods brandishing chain saws. Every orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit (maybe others) tree was destroyed. The idea being to eradicate through the process of eliminating potential hosts.
Each time I bring the long handled pruning device out of the shed the orange tree gets pruned. A ladder would make the task easier. I have the perfect ladder in the shed. The ground under the orange tree is not even. It would be unwise to climb the ladder with a sharp device in hand without someone holding the ladder.
In lieu of the easy way, I prune what is within reach. This is amazing. I get all that is reachable. Necessity being the mother of invention or incentive, tactics are employed. Open the handles of the pruner a little bit; reach up and hook a just within reach branch in the cross-section of the X formed by the handles.
Pull down a considerably large branch and grab hold with the other hand. This takes practice and probably should not be “tried at home.”
Re-position the pruner blades and apply pressure. A lot of dead stuff was separated from the main trunk. There is still a lot to be trimmed next time.
As I was rolling the now over flowing trash can to the curb one of the hibiscus bushes caught my eye. The lawn service (provided by land lord) does a nice job maintaining the shape of the hibiscus bushes.
However, the north side of one of the bushes had a lot of dead limbs.
I started to prune. The more the bush was pruned, the more dead stuff was uncovered. Since this was within easy reach, snip. Snip. Snip. Oh no. The nicely shaped, partially dead bush now appears uneven.
Have you ever had a really bad haircut? Suddenly, the hibiscus brought to mind three really bad haircuts during my life time. In sixty-five years and six months, that’s not too bad.
The first one was just my bangs. Since both of the adults who were formally know as my parents are no longer alive; both the cutter and the cuttee are grown-ups; there is no concern of child welfare steeping in at this point.
It was a Sunday morning. Probably around 1953(ish). Everyone else was at church. Why Cindy and I were left home alone is beyond any common sense. But there we were. It all sounded like a good idea. At first.
It was apparent to Cindy that my bangs needed to be trimmed. No big deal. She found the scissors. In retrospect that should have been a clue for me to run and hide. But she would have chased after me and then she would have been running too. With scissors.
I let her snip. One line across my forehead. She stood back to examine her work. “They are not even,” she says. “I need to even them out.” Snip. Look. “Just a little more.” Snip. “Too much there. A little here.” Snip. Then she let me look. If I recall I had to climb on the bathroom sink to look in medicine cabinet mirror.
So here we are. I’m three, Cindy slightly older (she doesn’t like anyone to know her age). My bangs – are – gone! Still uneven but there is nothing left to work with. I don’t remember what happened when the others returned from church. I’m fairly sure that’s the last time I let Cindy cut my hair.
The next really bad hair cut I had, scissors were in Frank’s hands. We often enjoyed week-end beach time before our kids were born. It was not unusual for me to cut his hair on the beach. He never complained. I had no reason to imagine or even think he would one day seek to retaliate.
Why I allowed Frank to cut my hair I don’t know. The really bad cut was maybe not the first time. Again it was my bangs. Just a trim. “Make them look wispy,” I said. “Wispy,” he mutters.
One person’s wispy is not always the same as the other’s. Such was this case. Not as short as when Cindy trimmed, but almost as unsightly. The beauty of hair is that no matter how disastrous the cut, it usually grows out.
The next really bad haircut, Molly held the scissors. I had confidence that she would do a good job. Molly started doing her own hair around the age of two; combing not cutting. Always independent. She just didn’t like the way her hair looked when I did it. Ok. Pick the arguments. She did a good job.
She was maybe eight. I had just finished clipping the dog in the garage. “Mom, do you want a hair cut?” Molly asks. What was I thinking? Molly could probably do this. She took a couple of snips with the scissors.
“Do you have a clip or something?” I’m still feeling calm. Confident that Molly will do a nice job. “Not really.” I reply.
“Well,” Molly says as she sort of flicks my hair with her fingers.
“Put on a hat or something and go to the beauty shop.”
At least Molly had the good sense to quit while it was still reparable. She left my bang alone.
With all those flash backs fresh in my mind, why did I go for a haircut today? My roots were showing and I needed a trim. I’ve been to the same shop many times over the years. Never had a bad hair cut.
I should have been more cautious. Only one of the regulars was there and it was not her turn “up.” English not being the first language of the woman who was assigned. This has never been an issue before. Most of the stylists speak some English. I thought I was clear with instructions. Nothing as discretionary as wispy. Trim as much off as the roots are grown out. Simple. Comprende?
When I fluffed my hair with my hands I thought. “YIKES!!!” She cut too much off. Crap. The color is good. Cut not bad; just short. The shorter than expected will regrow. In a month or so when the roots need touching up, probably I won’t need a cut yet. I’ll resort to coloring on my own. I’ve still got a touch up kit in the bathroom. For emergencies.
Prune? Cut? Trim? Groom. Just remember, it will always grow. Usually.
Don’t run with the scissors. Run away if you have any doubts.