Second Cut: What stage is your life at?

At my meditation group, the leader asked us to consider our lives as a garden or crop. She asked, “How does your garden grow? What stage is your crop at?”

The first phrase that popped into my head was “second cut.”

I grew up on a farm, so harvesting hay fields was part of the fabric of our lives. In early summer, we mowed and baled the first cut of tall Timothy hay. Later in the summer, after the hay had grown again, we harvested the “second cut.”

My growing first cut - back in 2010

My  “first cut” – back in 2010

My life is at that stage. My youngest child is about to leave for university. After years of nurturing the growth and development of our two children—a fine and healthy “crop”—I am growing again in new ways, for different purposes.

When I researched hay crops, I discovered that farmers allow first cuts of hay to grow for longer than second cuts. The new plants need the time to set down roots and establish a strong base, and all that work means they contain more starch and less protein. Second cuts of hay, growing from well-established root systems, have more leaf than stem.

Sounds about right.

It took more than 50 years for me to sink roots into the ground and develop a strong base. That work required lots of energy like the kind found in starchy carbohydrates. Now I have a well-established root system, and the proteins of experience allow me to focus on creating beauty and magnificent leaves.

If I keep at it, there might be a third cut in my future. What a rich experience that would be. 

What stage is your life at?

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About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on July 3, 2015, in Arlene Smith, Arlene Somerton Smith, How do you define success?, Inspiration, life, Living life to the fullest and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. You would love the book, “Gift from the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh…..she talks about this precisely…….the “second flowering” of our lives………..

    thanks always, for your gorgeous thoughts my friend…….I’m so grateful for the always gems of your words……..

  2. Arlene, I really liked this. I think I am at the third cut now–not entirely happy about it, but we cannot dictate everything in our lives, and this is one f those times…

  3. Oh how fabulous. I love the idea of having a bit of a “me” renaissance when the kids are gone. I feel like I’m laying in the seeds of it now, and it’s so heartening to think there will be plenty to reap when the Mommy role moves more into the background. I’m looking forward to joining you for the second cut!

    • That’s exactly it – a little more “me” time for creative solitude, and a rediscovery of how to use that time. So much of my time that used to revolve around other people is now mine, all mine. Now I have to figure out how to use it in the best possible way.

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