Fall came late and lovely to Central Georgia. As much as possible, I am spending time in the wooded area behind our house.
First I am seeking to deliver on a promised tree house before my daughters go off to college. And, second, I am simply mesmerized by the splendid array of color, especially from the maple trees.
For three and a half years, I have been slowly but surely thinning out the area and removing invasive plants that threaten the natural habitat.
Non-native plants, I learned from reading and talks with a neighbor on the same mission, threaten the species that have have long made their home in this area. So I have been eliminating them — mimosas, English ivy and Chinese privets — along with the ever-undesirable poison oak and ivy.
Other unwelcome, invasive plants include kudzu, Chinese wisteria and the fast-reproducing tallow trees that experts blame on Ben Franklin for sending seeds to Georgia in 1772.
Early on in my quest, I noticed several small dogwoods and red maples were being crowded out of the landscape and competing for sunlight and nutrients. So I began pulling, cutting and spraying for their freedom.
The results of this fall season have more than rewarded me for my labor.
Of course, there is a broader application to life here. For we tend to allow lesser things to invade and grow in our lives at the expense of better things.
In a recent issue of Christian Century, Barbara Brown Taylor said: “Learning to say no is how we clear space for a few carefully planted yeses to grow. Saying no to lesser gods is part of saying yes to God.”
I’ll let each of you take the sermon, lesson, application from here.

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