I’ve always been a big fan of Dan Millman, Author of ‘Way of The Peaceful Warrior’‘ and many other books, because he writes in simple, easy to remember stories to illustrate his points. One such story, from his book ‘No Ordinary Moments’, is one I have paraphrased and repeated throughout the years and while now, reflecting on my mysterious “Pumpkin Patch”, it comes to mind once again. Dan tells a little tale called the “Bluebird’s Lesson” and it goes something like this (I am paraphrasing):
It was a chilly Autumn day and while all the other birds decided it was time to take flight southward, the Bluebird felt it was a waste of time! The Bluebird figured “What’s the point, anyway, I’ll just have to fly ALL the way back in the Spring. I’ll just stay.” As Winter began, the Bluebird began to get nervous, the temperatures were dropping fast and it looked to be a frigid winter! The little Bluebird decided he better take flight quick! But it was too cold, it was too late, the little wings of the Bluebird froze midflight and the Bluebird began to plummet to the ground. The Bluebird was lucky as he fell onto a haystack and bounced into a barn, and landed near some cows. As the Bluebird lay there, motionless, nearly frozen, a cow happened to crap on the Bluebird. The warmth of the manure brought the Bluebird back to life and in his excitement he began to chirp a beautiful song! As fate would have it though, a cranky barn cat heard him sing, promptly fished the birdy out of the manure and ate him. Moral of the story: 1) Not everyone who craps on you is your enemy and 2) Not everyone who pulls you out of the crap is your friend. (Clever, right?).
How does this relate to my “mysterious Pumpkin Patch”? You might recall from “Jack’s Beanstalk vs. Girl’s Pumpkin Patch – Part #1” that a small sprout happened to start growing between my cement patio and a small walkway paved with rocks. In my curiosity, I let it grow and GROW it did. The mysterious Pumpkin Patch became a monster with oversized leaves, flowering things eventually and spread almost as wide as my yard itself. The pumpkin patch became a community affair because nobody was quite certain whether those enormous leaves were actually producing PUMPKINS! I had one reader comment that the patch might actually produce a round zucchini, another person swore I was growing magic watermelons. My friend Thelma helped clarify when she noted with certainty, eyeballing the patch, only the squash family produces those yellowish flowers. When one of the “whatevers” came off the vine, we even dissected it:
I have to admit, this dissected green object did smell more like a melon than anything in the squash family, but Thelma assured me, it didn’t smell like a pumpkin yet because it wasn’t a pumpkin yet! (She’s a smart arse!) So, we waited and waited until one day the answer appeared:
We saw ORANGE! Thelma (my friend who would not eat a vegetable to save her life, was right about what was growing in my non-garden!) But the advice didn’t stop there. My friend, Elaine Smithson, stopped by with even more pumpkin wisdom. She identified our pumpkins as “pie pumpkins.” She told us we needed to place paper bags under the pumpkins to absorb the moisture and prevent rotting. She also warned us the “milky” substance which began to appear on the large leaves needed culled out, or removed. The milky substance, she warned, would spread down the stems and in response, the patch would abort the littlest baby pumpkins amongst them. So, although I didn’t plant or want this pumpkin patch initially, I was now invested in it’s care and “upbringing”, I was now the proud momma of my pumpkin patch (even though my backyard looked, uh, well, “unkempt” would be the polite word).
In many ways, the mysterious pumpkin patch has mirrored both my life in Indiana and this blog, both growing into something different than what I had expected. When I moved back to Indiana, I was wrong about a few things and people, but all of this led me here, led me to the smallest, tiniest bit of hidden soil between my walkway and my patio (ie: “a rock and a hard place”) which as it turned out, was remarkably fertile ground. And if you don’t believe me, take a look:
My friends, I am so excited to tell you, I counted: 36 big pumpkins! THIRTY-SIX! And that is not counting the babies who are still growing:
And the vines keep finding new places and heights to grow:
Going back to the first post “Jack’s Beanstalk vs. Girl’s Pumpkin Patch“, you might remember in the famous tale, Jack sells the beloved (or not so beloved) family cow “Milky” when they deem her useless. And that’s what Jacks do, they sell the cow for three magic beans. Well, let me tell you, I didn’t sell anything and I got 36 pumpkins! 36 perfectly round, beautiful orange pumpkins with still yet, more to come! The moral of this tale, perhaps, is…..when you are in an extraordinarily difficult, unexpected place in your life, you can either bet the cow and hope something will change magically or you can look really carefully for the tiniest spot of fertile ground and nurture it with everything you’ve got! You might be surprised what it grows! Besides, who’s gonna give a crap when your wings are frozen if you sell the beloved cow? Duh.
RELATED LINKS: Jack’s Beanstalk vs. Girl’s Pumpkin Patch: Part I