Monday, July 14, 2008
At least the plants have been enjoying all the recent rainfall.
Just look at these zucchini plants. Flourishing. Big, shade-making leaves, bright and sunny blooms—they’re loving the rain.
It still amazes me, even after all these years, how plants grow. Some dirt, a diminutive spindly green thing—and a few weeks and several inches of water later, you get these monstrous vines with sturdy stems and buds and the promise of wonderful veggies in just a week or two. And they began so humbly. I didn’t even think the tiny starters would survive. I stuck them in the dirt, and they wilted, hung droopily, looked shellshocked. So small, so vulnerable in that relentless sun. So defenseless through the driving storms. A few times in the first days after planting, they sat literally in pools of water that had run off our patio.
And now look at them. I’m so proud. And a tiny bit nervous.
From small beginnings come big things: An oak tree grows from a minute acorn, and one day towers over its surroundings. A tiny dancer commences her career with a stumbling, awkward performance at the recital—and a couple of decades later, conquers the stage in NYC. The average math student begins as all of us do, with addition, subtraction, reciting his multiplication tables…and then as an adult he devises an amazing formula that improves our lives. The first stones are laid in a monument that, at its completion, becomes an icon of human achievement.
But. Sometimes small beginnings can grow out of control. That first experimental cup of Starbucks may birth a pricey little habit. A simple electronic day planner or telephone or music storage machine is purchased—but then, on a frighteningly regular basis, a more fancy and more expensive machine must replace its predecessor. “Just this once,” a big, silly purchase is made with a credit card… and you know how that often ends.
Yes, beware those humble beginnings. They’re unimpressive, can even pass unnoticed, but that’s no guarantee they’ll stay that way. If it’s a vegetable plant, that’s probably okay; I don’t anticipate a little shop of horrors in our backyard. But if that unobtrusive beginning involves something bigger and more ominous, well, don’t say the zucchini and I didn't warn you.