Life lessons. They can happen anywhere and anytime.
The pumpkins grew everywhere. Hardy, strong, leafy vines grew across my yard in random places. I had pumpkin vines in window wells. They grew out of a landscaped area, out of the rock, over a shrub with burgeoning, hidden pumpkins nestled in the branches. Another vine draped over our retaining wall and plopped a pumpkin (or two) in the driveway. As a bonus, there was also an unexpected gourd that grew in the driveway. And the best part is I didn’t plant a single one. Not one.
Late this past summer I was doing some yard work around the back patio when I noticed a huge vine growing off the edge of the patio, on the lawn. I felt the leaf’s prickliness with my fingers and thought these vines look familiar to me but I didn’t plant anything, especially not off the edge of my patio. Then I looked around some more. I discovered the randomness of the vines. Growing here and there throughout our yard. There was one even under the trampoline. My first reaction was they don’t belong here and are messing up the landscaping. I reached out to start pulling it out and then stopped myself. Why would I do that? If these really are pumpkins, what’s wrong with a little growing chaos in my yard? Why don’t I see where this goes?
For the next few months, I experienced joy every time I looked out my windows or walked outside. I could see growing, green pumpkins slowly turning orange and getting larger. Sometimes we would discover new ones, hidden. It was like an Easter egg hunt … except with pumpkins, during the fall! Friends would come over to visit and we would take them out back to look at the wonderful, sporadic patch of pumpkins, gleeful in their freedom to spread out as they liked in the warmth of the sun. One day I looked out and saw my teenage son traipsing through the backyard with a group of friends joyfully pointing out our pumpkins. No matter who we told the story to, the story was delivered and received in disbelief and joy, it couldn’t help but put a smile on your face.
When it came time to pick the pumpkins, we eagerly did so. Altogether we had about 10 pumpkins. We stacked them on our front step to kick off the fall season. When my sister came over a few weeks ago she remarked on how perfect our pumpkins were and that she couldn’t grow any this summer to save her life. I said, well, let me tell you a story of how these pumpkins came to be …
Tomorrow we celebrate Thanksgiving at my sister’s house and we will eat a pumpkin pie she made out of one of our wondrous, mystical pumpkins. (And, according to her taste testing, the pies are fabulous of course.)
I’m still not sure how those pumpkins came to be, but I have my theories. Could have been from the pumpkin I left out too long last fall or it could have been from the birds and the birdseed over the summer. One thing I do know for sure: The pumpkins taught me a life lesson. Letting them do their thing where and how they wanted to, gave me a lesson in bypassing perfection in order to see the beauty.