The hard prune; letting go so you can move forward

The hard prune was originally published in The Daily Love on June 6, 2012

We have a vineyard.

Not an Italian investment, but a hobby, one-acre vineyard that feeds my husband’s soul. (And our friends’ wine cellars in good years.)

June is the time for the “hard prune” and it’s a tough thing to do. Hard pruning means taking out the vines that don’t bear fruit, or the vines that are too low to train up to the sky. Basically, you remove the weakest links, so the strong can survive and gather strength and bear the sweetest, plumpest fruit possible.

The first year we had the vineyard, my husband couldn’t bear to hard prune. He was sure all of his new vines deserved to stay, and as a result the grapes were small and lacking in sugar and taste.

His vintner friend taught him to be ruthless, and the next year my husband painfully took out the weaker vines. Each clip was an effort, and he appeared to feel actual pain, as he silently removed the tiny tendrils.

The harvest that year was plentiful, full of plump, sweet tasting grapes. We were happy, our friends were impressed and my husband admitted regretfully, “I had to hard prune.”

Each year, he still grimaces and talks about the “hard prune” before it happens. He’s never enjoyed it and I doubt he ever will. But he does it, for the end result.

We were talking this week about how busy we are this summer, and the number of opportunities and responsibilities that seem to be overflowing from our business and personal plates, and my husband looked at me.

Time to hard prune, Holli.

He’s right. If you allow everything in, and say yes to it all, you risk quality. You risk the ultimate possibilities, because you’re too busy rushing off to the next big thing.

June is a great time to hard prune. Focus on what you want and need to achieve this summer and prune the rest.

Come September, the fruit you bear will be oh, so much sweeter.