Around this time last year, I discovered something about myself; something shocking but undeniably true. However, until today, I had no idea there was more to the story. I shared ‘Part 1’ of my tale on friend Sherri’s Oldtweener.com last year. I suppose in order to tell “the rest of my story” I have to go back to the beginning, where it all started…
The moment a house plant enters my life I can literally see its life flash before my eyes. It may come through my doors a full, vibrant, green plant, but soon it will start to show the signs of my care…wilting leaves, thinning vines, dulling color. In an effort to stay alive it will begin to shuck off excess bulk until it is finally reduced to one, lone leaf clinging to a surviving vine. But this too, will eventually lose the will to live. And even though with each new vegetative ward that comes into my care, I vow to be a better guardian, I, at the same time, feel the sadness of inevitability.
However, at the pleading of my younger son, I was forced to face the ultimate agrarian challenge (with potentially soul damaging results) of actually planting an innocent victim in the ground in the attempt to bring forth life. That’s right, my son wanted to grow a plant; outside… in the ground… from scratch, like, with a seed. To be more specific, he wanted to grow pumpkins. Well, I did what any sensible girl would do, I ran to Daddy. Actually, he came to visit me and little did he know that he was soon to be an unwitting accomplice in what was sure to be a dastardly plan (as far as the plant world is concerned). But Dad, being the accomplished gardener that he is, went right to work in the attempt to make his grandson’s pastoral dreams come true. He prepared the soil, digging up dirt that had been left to itself for way too many years, added nutrients, top soil and fertilizer, built a huge mound complete with watering mote and then… planted 4 seeds. With strict instructions to water and tend to the seedlings every day, Dad went on his way with great hope but possibly dubious faith as to the outcome.
Seven days later, much to my surprise – ok, more like shock, amazement, incredulity – all four seeds sprouted (go Dad!!). And not only sprouted, but continued to grow, crawl and bloom flowers – all under my tutelage (because of course, it was just a coincidence they tripled in size during the 2 weeks the neighbor boy cared for them while we were away).
Then, the day finally came when my son uttered the words I had been longing, even yearning to hear… those three little words…
”We have pumpkins!!!”
Success washed over me. I had done it! I had taken a humble seed, tended to it, cared for it, coerced and nurtured it into giving its most precious gift – a fruit for my labors (or vegetable as the case may be). I had to see for myself. But, no sooner had I headed in the direction of my precious vines, I was drawn away by my son calling from the direction of our wild and overgrown field behind our house – “No, Mom, over here!” For there, growing in our neglected field, unattended, wild and completely unbeknownst to us were pumpkin vines sporting two beautiful, perfect, orange pumpkins. I stared at them in disbelief. How could this be? Where had they come from? How had they survived? Was that where we threw the rotten pumpkins out after Halloween last year?
Unfortunately, all answers to these and other perplexing questions such as – what exactly is ‘Bieber Fever’ and how does one keep from contracting it? – remain forever part of the unknown. What is known, however, is that I had finally grown something, become a producer, joined the ranks of the tillers before me…albeit, by accident.
So now, everyday, I proudly walk out to my wild pumpkin patch, admire my crop of two and well, do nothing; for clearly, where plants and I are concerned, this seems to be the most productive strategy.
And the vines which my Dad so faithfully entrusted to me? Well, they continue to persevere even under the duress of my constant care and devotion, sprouting flowers again and again but never being able to quite muster up enough oomph to produce a pumpkin. I fear they too will one day soon fulfill providence and join their unfortunate predecessors in that great nursery in the sky.
2011 – The Rest of the Story
Today I went out to my “crop” as it were. More to the point, the place in my wild, unattended field where I, again, threw out last years rotten pumpkins. The place I did NOT fertilize, I did NOT water, I did NOT weed, I did NOT season with rich top soil, I did NOT pay any attention to at all. Until today, when I went out there to discover I had NOT grown pumpkins… I had grown gourds.
Clearly, I’m even better than I thought.