On a hot day in late May, our younger son, Nick, came home from a visit to a friend clutching a rather ugly large-leafed seedling in a small pot. “Look what Malcolm’s Dad gave me Ma! It’s a giant pumpkin!”
My heart sank. I am not a gardener, neither is Nick. Though he loves planting, and is certainly in love with the idea of gardening! Writing down planting instructions for his Dad – he didn’t ask me, smart kid! – the next day he hopped a plane for a three-month internship in France. Nick just does stuff like that. And I get grumpy! And yet with his impulses, experience has shown that there’s always a deeper reason, though rarely known up-front least of all to himself! But I still got grumpy!
Days went by and the plant sat there – a constant reminder of a responsibility I didn’t want. Secretly I hoped it would die. Finally one day, I asked a young friend who was helping me in the yard to plant it. My husband watered it faithfully, and the dang thing grew and grew and grew.
By the time it filled the vegetable patch with its sturdy runners and huge leaves, I began to pay it a little attention. By July, I found myself talking to it, and scolding it not-so-gently as I picked up errant runners almost every day, and trained them off the lawn, back and around within the patch. I think I was working off my resentment. It didn’t seem to mind, like it knew what it was doing and why it was here, even though I didn’t – Yet! Soon there were huge yellow flowers – males at first, and soon females. The bees were having a ball, and soon there were fruit. All but one dropped away. And from August through October, that one grew and grew and grew.
The massive pumpkin was a delight to my 88-year-old mother, an avid gardener herself, who was staying with us this summer; and, of course, to Nick when he returned in September. I was happy about that. For myself – I enjoyed taking photos – but that was it. I wanted to let it sit there, perhaps with a spotlight for Halloween; still resisting what was right there in front of me, and more eager for the dying brown patch to be cleaned up, and get it all over with. But as always, Nick knew different. He insisted on moving it – heaving roll by heaving roll (I got that all on video! Hah!) – to lean up against the basketball pole in the driveway for all to see.
And then it snowed – heavy wet snow, and tons of it! Trees and branches came crashing down the evening of 29th October, and we lost power for a week. In the midst of all that misery, Tom and Eric from Drew Gardens paid us a visit. After a warm chat that cheered us up immensely, they took that pumpkin, carved it into a giant
Snoopy head with a squash for its nose, and set it on a large rock up the hill accompanied by a carved Woodstock, along with 250 more lighted pumpkins! That Halloween night, ‘Snoopy’ was enjoyed by dozens of children and their families as they traipsed through muddy slush enjoying the annual Jack-o’-lantern display at the apple orchard.
The pumpkin knew its job and its destiny.
Nick did too … in his own way, following his bright impulses to act!
Would I have been more gracious and grateful and joyful about that little plant had I known how things would turn out? How much pleasure it gave Mum? and Nick? and Tom? and Eric? and all those children? How much fun it was to take photos and even have some published in the local paper?
Perhaps. I don’t know.
I do know that I am learning to accept with gratitude anything and everything that comes to me; awakening to the realization that acceptance is not at all about being a doormat. True acceptance is empowering. After all, isn’t seeing and accepting what is here now, totally pre-requisite to being free to choose what next?
Acceptance is the willingness to receive – wholeheartedly with no resistance – with gratitude and certainty that great things are happening.
Or to quote a young friend Drew, who simply says, “It’s all good.”