Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Until it Froze
When a farmer lady says stuff, you should listen. Well, this is what I’ve decided. The woman had already driven my kids and me on a tractor cum runaway train over the better portion of her pumpkin farm. I had overheard her snickering with her husband about the phallic shapes and sizes of the pumpkins in her patch. And then she approached me and leaked a little wisdom. She didn’t mean to do it, I’m sure.
“You know, we never know how great the pumpkins are until it freezes.”
“Come on now,” I replied.
“No really, we plant the seeds and then the leaves take over and from the house we can’t tell what’s going on. (Then she pointed at her house at the top of the hill.)
We walk around occasionally to make sure there are no problems, even have the field trip kids over. But we never know what’s taking shape until it freezes.”
I purveyed her spread. All I could see for a couple of acres were rows and rows of gleaming pumpkins, squash, and gourds. The orange, cheery promise of great jack-o-lanterns was nesting atop matted, rotten, blackened leaves and stalks. In plain sight. But not until just a few days ago, when it froze just enough for the pumpkin plants to retreat, shrivel, and take a new place under their fruits.
Hmmmmm… do you think I’ll feel like that when my kids are 16? I’m going to wake up one morning after a chilly night and realize what’s up under there. Or am I going to realize that I’m the big leafy bush of a pumpkin plant. Right now I’m hovering over them, protecting them, sheltering them, not letting anyone get their grimy mitts on them. And one day, I’ll realize it’s time to shrivel up and die. Then someone will parade by, point to them and take them home.
Or will this adventure in parenting turn out to be more like the maize maze? We wander and wander seeing only our feet hitting the trail in front of us. And then finally we see it, the platform that raises us up and lets us see our entire journey at a glance? Not only where we’ve been, but also where we still need to go.
I have no time to fret on the future as I enjoy today. For now I can rest assured knowing we giggled and laughed and drank in the sun.