So, summer is over (the best part of it anyway) and our little family is getting back into the school year routine – earlier bedtimes, more regular meal times, setting alarms and paying more attention to our to do lists.
I don’t know if you noticed, but I took an unplanned (and therefore unannounced) vacation from this site for the last month. Maybe it’s because I taught more this summer than in years past or because I’ve been less intentional about self-care during the season when I’m less mindful about almost everything, but by mid-July I just ran out of steam. I mustered enough creativity to teach during the day and prep the next day’s project at night, but that was about it.
Lover of metaphors and symbolism that I am, I started thinking of myself like my cucumber plant.
Here is a picture of what my cucumber plant looked like most mornings this summer – a tangle of drooping, flaccid leaves, that seemed to be saying, “I can’t go on much longer.” But, if I gave it a nice, long drink of water, within an hour those leaves would perk right up, fan out, and convince me all was not lost. Is it twisted of me to admit I began to enjoy watching this daily transformation? Sure, a real gardener would probably tell me this is no way to raise a healthy, fruitful plant, but the metamorphosis was enchanting.
While it was tempting to blame the heat (which was miserable this summer) and the greediness of this plant that requires such frequent watering, I know the real cause was too many seeds planted in a too small pot, not allowing the soil to retain any extra water or the roots to mature and support the mass of vines that desperately wanted to produce fruit.
What an awesome reminder of the importance of good roots, good soil, proper care and a steady routine if I expect my work to bear fruit.
It’s taken me almost a week to write this post, because the longest tendrils of my metaphorical vine – the ones that nurture my children – are requiring ridiculous amounts of water in these early weeks of a new school year. Both boys are transitioning into new grade levels and schools (one starting middle school, the other starting high school). The droopy, limp little fellas may be low on energy, but never short of drama.
On days when they’re certain the stress of school will kill them, I pour what “water” I can, as often as I can, then watch and wait for them to bounce back.
In the end, my little cucumber plant didn’t make it (5 days without water, when our family was on vacation, finally did it in). But as with most everything, I take comfort that I was able to make something of its all too brief life – as a personal metaphor, a lesson in gardening, or even just fodder for a blog post.