I’ve been wanting to write about this backyard phenomenon we’re experiencing. Below is a photo of the eight-foot-long, four-foot-wide, very healthy, still-growing pumpkin plant that has literally spilled out over the edge of our garden, and taken over a chunk of our lot. It’s elicited many ooohs and aaahs from friends and neighbors, as well as yielded three (almost four– see that one on the vine?) decorative pumpkins.
It would be cool to make a life analogy here, and talk about how we never know how the seeds we plant will grow, and that our smallest actions can have great impact, and we have the power to reach many people, et cetera, et cetera.
But we did not plant this pumpkin seed, so that doesn’t really work.
We didn’t plant a vegetable garden at all, as a matter of fact. I was too busy writing. Usually, the kids pick out seed packets in the winter, and we do the whole indoor-seedling-thing in early spring, then transfer whatever actually grows to outdoors in late spring.
Not this year, given the insane writing schedule I was obligated to follow. I figured we’d buy some herbs as plants (easier to care for, very economical) and stick them in the garden when it was warm enough, and after all the major deadlines.
Which we did. We went to the garden center and sniffed a bunch of little herb plants. The kids picked out lavender and mint, I picked out basil and cilantro. When we went to weed out the sad neglected garden box and hoe in some compost, we noticed an odd little not-weed, and let it be. It was just two miniature squash-y looking leaves on a sprout at that point. I allowed about a six-inch margin all around, to accommodate whatever might grow.
And man, did it grow! It kind of suffocated the cilantro, actually. Hubby sprinkled the garden with leftover Miracle-Grow from some transplanted shrubbery, as well, which may have boosted some blossoms.
When we realized it was a pumpkin vine, we tried to think how on earth it ended up in our garden.
The best hypothesis we have is: We bought a bunch of mini-pumpkins last Halloween. Of course we left them out for months and months. The squirrels and chipmunks got into them and spewed pumpkin guts and seeds all over the back steps. One of these critters must have carried off some seeds, dropping one in the garden on their way. That seed somehow managed to not get eaten by anything else, burrow its way into the ground at the proper depth, survive a damn cold winter, and do its proper seedling thing come spring.
And here we have this crazy pumpkin plant!
I think it is still fair to make a life analogy here:
If we give someone or something the space and nourishment to develop and grow, they will thrive and flourish. This can be true of children, or dreams. A healthy environment, the appropriate resources, and an occasional boost can all help create some amazing, even miraculous, results.
It’s worth it, so very worth it, to think about how we can create space in our lives, so that good things can happen. Maybe this means more time for us at home, and less scheduled time for our kids. Maybe this means investing in travel, or learning. Maybe it means finding the right neighborhood, or place of worship. Hard to say what it means for each of us, but if we listen, our souls will tell us.