BECOMING BETTER

Jean Croker Petke


Unexpected Harvest

Unexpected Harvest


I love surprises. Birthday and Christmas surprises are always nice. But I’m talking about genuine surprises — things you never expected or thought would happen.

Every fall the landscapers work in my back yard. They trim the shrubs, fertilize, mulch, and pull up dead plants.  This year I asked them to plant flowers for the winter — a task I generally do myself but my travel schedule took all of my available time.

My sweet potato vines had been glorious all summer. They took over the garden, covered the rocks, threatened to climb the boxwoods, and grew into the grass. I trimmed them back several times and still they flourished — until the first frost. Their large lime green leaves shriveled and turned brown. Dead for sure.

As the landscapers removed the vines and prepared the earth for winter pansies, they dug up a sweet potato. And then another. And another. They presented me with four large sweet potatoes!! I thought the vines were just decorative. I didn’t expect them to grow real potatoes. Their red skins are still covered with dirt. The insides appear to be creamy white. I’m saving them for Thanksgiving dinner.

Maybe the best surprises come when we have  no expectations:

  • When we’re not looking or have quit looking
  • When we don’t know to look
  • When we’ve given up hope or feel hopeless
  • When we’ve run out of patience with others or with ourselves

Perhaps the best any of us can do is be open to the possibility of a surprise.

You might have to dig in the dirt. You might need to explore beneath the surface.

Some days you will find nothing.

Some days you will have an unexpected harvest.

When you’ve been surprised, and gathered your harvest, then share your bounty and good fortune with friends and family.

Nothing tastes as sweet as joy shared.

Until next Tuesday . . .