A section of my garden that runs along the side of my house was all re-done a couple of years ago once the trees were removed on that side. It looked fresh and tidy with a side yard of new bark mulch. Since that time, some blackberries have crept in and slowly extended its hold, taking root everywhere, as blackberry bushes do.
Last summer, I let them ripen once I saw how many berries were coming in. And then I didn’t get out in the yard as I had intended, to cut down the prickles after we had picked the harvest. This summer I realized the prickle vines were everywhere and I made the plan this summer, to let the berries come in, pick them and then cut it all back.
I started the task last week. I went out there with my gloves, clippers and a bowl for berries. As soon as I got outside, I felt overwhelmed looking at the amount of vines. They all cross over and intersect each other. I wasn’t sure where to begin because each layer is built up on the layer beneath it and it’s difficult to see where one vine begins and ends.
After feeling a brief overwhelm, I decided the strategy would be start on the left and just work my way right. Cutting down bit by bit to expose the vines beneath. Just work away cutting off 2’ sections of vine at a time, piling it up and picking the ripe berries as I get to them.
It felt like slow work but progress could be seen gradually. I got about 3/4 of the work done by the end of the weekend.
It made me reflect on my art progress. It can feel overwhelming because there are so many things I want to create and lots of times I wondered why my progress wasn’t faster or why my Instagram page doesn’t have more followers and why there are very few views on lots of the pieces. Progress is slow sometimes but the goal has always been to create the work so there is a portfolio I am happy with. Nothing forced. The progress is in the improvement and the consistency. Methods not aligned with that are just not my path.
Anything can feel overwhelming when you just see vines and a web of confusion. But if you tackle little sections at a time, and know what you want the end improvement to look like, it makes the job easier to manage, and you can look at how far you’ve come rather than see a big mess ahead of you.