Digging for Treasure
On a recent very hot morning, I, as in Robin, had the opportunity to dig potatoes. This was the first time we actually planted potatoes. We were happy with the outcome and will probably do it again. While I was digging, I used the quiet time, which rarely occurs at our house, to think. I discovered as with many adventures on the farm, one could learn life lessons from any activity, just like with potatoes.
This was first time I had actually dug potatoes since I was child. Digging them now, as an adult, had a lot more meaning than when I was as child. A task I once viewed as hard work and disliked, took on new meaning as I was now digging the potatoes that would feed our family. This realization of new purpose and meaning to old dreaded task has happened to me several times before. Is it amazing that a simple change in perspective can make tasks I once viewed with a sense dread, now gives me a feeling of satisfaction knowing the benefits my family will receive.
In order to harvest potatoes, you have to plant a seed potato first. These are actually old dried potatoes that have started to sprout. At first sight, you would not think any life would come from the potato. But, sure enough once we planted that potato and give it time to grow, we were pleasantly surprised when we dug it up. Is that not like life? Sometimes, when things look ugly or bad, we believe that nothing with any value can occur from it. One example is out of the sadness of the death of my dad stirred my desire to return to the farm and to relocated back to Lugoff. Yes, we would rather have my dad alive, but, a positive has come out of that experience.
Because we were so late in digging our potatoes, it is hard to determine where the rows are exactly. I would guess where I thought they were and then dig. I really was on a treasure hunt with each turn of the pitchfork I may or may not be rewarded with my "treasure". In life, that can also be the case, as we have to search for our treasures too. Sometimes, one may find the treasure easily, other times the journey may be more difficult. Just because you don't find what you are looking for right off does not mean you should give up. You just need to keep searching, dig a little deeper and turn the pitchfork one more time.
Another thing I noticed while digging potatoes, is that even though the vines were dead and dried up there was still something alive and well beneath the surface. Experiences can be like like that too. Also, even though the vine was dead and no longer served its purpose of providing nutrients to the potato, the potatoes still clung to the dead vine. People can be like the potatoes, clinging onto negative or dying situation that we would benefit greatly if we would let them go and move on. One cannot change the past, but we certainly can determine how we live today.
Some potatoes were deep and I had to dig to find them while others were right on top and easy to spot. People can be like that too. Some people are deep thinkers and look at life in a very analytical manner. Others tend to be more happy go lucky. However, all personalities have value and serve a purpose in life. The world would certainly be very dull and boring if we were all the same. Also, the experiences we have, regardless of the circumstance or the feeling it generates, help to shape us into the type of person we become. In the end, we are just people, just like those potatoes are still potatoes whether they were deep or close to the surface. When we are enjoying them as part our meal, we will not be able to tell which one they were. If we truly allow the growth experiences of our life to shape and mold us all that others will see is the fruit of that experience and they will be better for it.
I also learned that it is good to have someone check behind you. Keith had already dug one section of potatoes, but he missed some. Together, we got all the potatoes. In life, it is good to have people help you along the way. Two can accomplish a whole lot more when they work together. It never hurts to have friends help and support you when times get hard .. As we can all attest to there will always be hard times in our life.
One final lesson I learned is that sometimes it is good to walk away. You can get a fresh perspective when you come back. I thought I was finished, but when I came back to the garden later to replant some squash I found more potatoes. That can happen in life too. Take a break, change perspective, come at it from a different angle and you may you find the treasures in life that you may have overlooked.
From all these "lessons" from potatoes, I realized life really is not a “box of chocolates” as Forest Gump stated. I think life is like digging potatoes, a lot of work, but great rewards come from all your effort.