When the last part of a job is the most irritating…

The thing about cutting hedges is that the easy and satisfying part comes first. The growl of the engine and the effortless way the hedgetrimmer scythes through mounds of leaves and branches gives the gardener a buzz second only to that of getting every last root of a huge weed out of her precious soil.

But that’s only the start of the job. The hedges may look great but the ground is a mess.

The next part isn’t quite as gratifying, but there’s still a good feeling about gathering big piles of foliage into your hands and filling the wheelbarrow quickly. There is still a sense of progress being made quickly.

But the last part is a killer. The hundreds or thousands of individual leaves scattered on the ground – and depending on what type of ground it is there’s sometimes no better way to get rid of them than to gather them up one by one, or else to wait until the wind gets up and scatters them to whatever corner of the garden it sees fit.


So it has to be done. The final, sometimes annoying part of the job. Like David Lynch in yesterday’s blog sifting through 9 versions of Barber’s Adagio for Strings before he found the right one to complete his film.

Or the student on last week’s summer camp who was looking for the concert schedule the day before so she would know if she had time to change costumes between her performances.

Or my friend who needed a backing track recorded this week for an upcoming audition and asked me to re-record it because he felt it was too fast. I clocked it and it was a mere 3-4 bpm faster than he wanted it. But that makes a difference. And he was right to ask.

The final details are sometimes the ones that make the most impact. It’s worth getting them right.