the melon plant

My flannel shirt is the perfect layer to be wearing on this morning’s walk. The entire mood of the woods has shifted in relief from the too still humid air of the past week. The inspiration to stray and meander in the perfectly delightful crispness lead us up the path to the left of the pond instead of the more direct path to the right that would loop us back home in no time. The path to the left has remained unexplored most of the hot summer months. Now, calf muscles stretch in response to the steeper incline, remembering how much I typically enjoy this way. But the months have left a residue of neglect on the ground. It’s not the large dead tree trunks that have crashed down across as I have encountered in other places in the past few months. It is the smaller branches, alive with tentacles that want to ensnare and trip. I stop every dozen feet or so, bend to pick up another branch that I could easily walk over, and toss it to the side. It becomes an obsession, to clear the path of unseen things that could potentially catch me unaware. It feels meaningful, this act of restoring a kind of order, but my brain can’t settle on the reason.

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These last days of summer have yielded some surprises in the garden too. The lone melon plant added as a first time experiment flowered profusely all season but managed to produce only four fruits. Small hard and still seemingly ripening on the vine, I was shocked to find one half eaten on the front lawn early morning a few days ago, large teeth marks like a sawtooth edge around, revealing bright orange juicy flesh inside. Some knowing creature had retrieved it from the garden and couldn’t wait to get home to enjoy. Exposed there in the morning light in all it’s ripe glory, it was a sign that I needed to eat these melons now. One was inside on the kitchen counter, rescued from Yogi the day before before he too could get his teeth into it. Cutting it in half now revealed the same sweet fruit, tasting even better than it looked.

 

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What a delight, standing right there at the counter, spooning large mouthfuls right out of the rind until there wasn’t any left at all. I would find a way to protect the two remaining on the vine.

I feel a little like this melon plant right now. I produce so many flowers each day, each promises to grow into something truly wonderful, but only a few actually do. There are so many ways that each promise can be waylaid, pulled off my path of an idea or vision. It’s never clear how a tentacle of some distraction can so effectively redirect the flow. And then, unbeknownst to me, one day the fruit of consistent labor makes itself known and it is now possible to follow the thread to a delightful conclusion. This is rare. It is not the norm. It is the way life shares and let’s me know who is in control. It always ends up being enough.

In the woods, we come back to the pond and continue on toward home. The air is still uncharacteristically cool for being so still, offering sweet reflections of happenings on the surface of the water.

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I turn back to the pond one more time as we continue away up the trail. The reflection will be there only in this moment for us to catch each other…

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