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  • Penn Clark

Removing the Creepers in Life

We live in a bountiful part of New York, with lots of fruit trees and vineyards dotting the rolling hills of the Finger Lakes region. Immigrants come here annually from Mexico and Jamaica to tend the trees, prune the vineyards, and help pick the fruit. Some of their jobs have been replaced by machinery, but one of the essential jobs they do, which no machine can manage, is cut away the creepers that climb the trees.



These vines are a perennial nuisance that have to be diligently attacked each year because, if they are allowed to grow, they will ruin the roots, climb on the branches and weigh them down, stressing the trees and blocking out much needed sunlight. They will prevent the tree from producing much in the way of good fruit. In fact, I have been told that, if a creeper is allowed to take over an apple tree, it will not produce a single apple. Imagine that!

Here are my questions: What are the creepers in your life? Can you make a list of things that are preventing you from being fruitful, weighing you down, keeping you stressed, and hindering growth? Some creepers even look nice, turning bright colors in the fall, but they are subtle killers. While it would be nice to have a permanent, one-time solution for this, I don’t think there is any. It requires taking the time to regular prune back the creepers of life.

The trees in the photos are across the road from my house. Neither have been cared for or pruned in recent years, but the one has lots of apples growing on it. The other tree right next to it has creepers growing around the trunk. It is surprising to see how few apples there are it and the ones it does have are undersized and uneatable.

To read more about the relationship we have with trees, read my books "Welcome to the Wilderness" and "Personal Revival".


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