Monday, January 9, 2012


This will sound heretical to the snowbound out there, but in Southern California, this is the season to prune the garden.

It’s easy to forget to cut back a garden. You live around it, and don’t always notice the overgrowth. It is only when you’ve been away, and return after a season, that the garden seems to cry out for the pruning shears. It has become shaggy and lost its shape. Neighboring plants are crowding each other out. And some things have not survived the fall. 

And so, after returning to California after a semester away, I got out the clippers last weekend. Before long, the yard was full of debris.  Now that it is cleared away, the basic architecture of the garden has reemerged. New plants are settling in. The birds are finding their way back.

It is the same for me with intellectual work. I spend months burrowing into a project. There doesn’t seem to be time to step back. It is only after a project is finally put to rest, when the words are on the page so firmly that I can no longer alter them, that I can finally see the horizon again.

And a time like that is always a good time to reconnect. So, dear readers, I am glad to be back.