I am a lover of all things fall. I adore the cooler temperatures, the changing color of the leaves, football madness and of course the harvest of the fruits of labor. I am also an amateur pumpkin farmer. I enjoy everything about the growing of pumpkins and really appreciate the process that they go through. Now while all the usual elements are at play, such as seed selection, soil, placement, water, nutrients and pest-control, what I enjoy the most about pumpkins is the vine process. These things were built to survive and to never give up! The cork-screwing appendages grab on to blades of grass to ensure they are fully planted on solid ground. When running a straight path towards the sun, and happen to encounter an obstacle such as a boulder, they seem to create a “hand” of sorts as if they are bracing against it to keep going around it. It’s not even a begrudging, but rather an acceptance that its ‘in the space,’ and therefore becomes part of the path. As a farmer, to create the biggest pumpkin fruit, we need to bury ancillary vines in the ground in order to send the nutrients back to the fruit. Now the vine will continue to sprout other off-takes in an attempt to create more leaves for sunlight and flowers for pollination and fruit potential. Yet, this is at the expense of the fruit’s size.

I look at this vine process and compare it to our own desires for thriving. What obstacles are in the way with which we can brace ourselves, even embrace, and keep on going? What else in our lives do we deem ‘necessary’ but may actually be ancillary—even inhibiting us from putting our energies towards the growth we want to see happen?

By seeing obstacles not as show-stoppers but detours like the vine, we are saying ‘Yes’ to the things that matter. And by ending the non-value added elements of our lives in favor of growth, we are saying ‘No’ to the things that don’t make a difference. It requires conscious choice of both invitation and elimination from which we, and everyone around us, benefit.

How else can you be like the pumpkin vine this season?