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The Joy of the Unexpected

Fruit of the Vine

A lot of our life is lived on auto-pilot. We pour our coffee in a cup every morning without noticing the aroma. We make our bed, do our morning routine, and walk out the door. We drive the same route everyday. Every now and then I pause as I discover that I forgot to put coffee in the pot the night before and I only have hot water; I drive down the road and wonder if I unplugged the iron; I get down the road and think, did I look before I just crossed that railroad track?

Some might say that it's old age and getting senile. But not! I have done this my whole life. Now don't star panicking when you see me coming down the road in my car. As the main character from the movie, Rain Man, said..."I'm an excellent driver!" It's just my life on auto-pilot.

Sometimes in life we are forced to slow down. It could be a storm, a pandemic, an illness or energy. Whatever it is, it slows down and our auto-pilot life becomes a piloted life. Aware!

Awareness! I really like sayings that have withstood time. In this case, "Stop and smell the roses" definitely comes to mind. We may not actually stop, but life can slow down and allow us time to use the senses we were born with. I often wonder what it was like in my area before modern technology made our life so comfortable and simple. It makes me realize how the native American Indians were so in tune with nature. Life depended on it. The weather, the animals, the seasons all played a part of staying alive. But maybe it also gave them the peace and joy that added richness to life.

I have a potting/equipment shed in my back yard. In my artist attempt to soften the starkness of a bare shed wall, I planted a small plant of creeping fig to grow up the wall. Like ivy, it is easy to grow, and controllable to manage. Controllable being the Key Word. Who knew that if not controlled, creeping fig was like Kudzu. It would not just creep but take off running. If not controlled, that shed could become a creeping fig topiary shed.

It wasn't hard to keep it under control, as long as you diligently held it to it's boundaries. Then those life events start coming at you and you are moving on auto-pilot, just glad to be taking care of each day, one thing at a time. All the while the creeping fig has gone on vacation. No boundaries! Like a child on a sugar high, the creeping fig in my yard happily grew on the shed, the neighbor's fence, and any flower pot that was within creeping range of it. It was one happy plant. Thriving in it's freedom.

As life happens, we come out of our auto-pilot state and life slows down. You actually have time think. You have time to go outside. You stopped. This happened to me. When I had this stopping time, I thought that I should take time and go out and "smell the roses." But when I went outside, all I could see was creeping fig. It was growing everywhere, including the rose bush.

So I got out my clippers, my hedge trimmer, my gloves, and I called the man that helps me in my yard. I was on a mission to control the creeping fig. The boundaries will be re-established. I am back on auto-pilot.

Remember at the beginning how I said I like sayings that withstand time? As I am marching out to do battle with my out of control creeping fig, I see a beautiful fruit hanging on the vine that has creeped onto my neighbors fence. I stopped in my tracks. In all my years of talking to people about our yards and plants, I have never heard that this plant had fruit. And such beautiful fruit. So the saying that comes to my mind

is..." look for the silver lining" (or in this case, a red-violet lining). In the middle of me wanting to control and do battle with nature, I experienced the joy of the unexpected. Maybe this is how those without our modern day conveniences kept peace and joy in their life. They had time to stop and smell the roses and also see the unexpected silver lining joy in their life.

So, I have let the creeping fig be a little more free. I only try to keep it from growing over the rose bushes and keep the windows and the door of the shed open. My neighbor came out and begged me to leave the vine on her fence because she thought it was beautiful. And I walk out and wait for the time that I might again see the beauty that nature shares with me...expectantly.

Today, I share with you my painting of a silver lining moment and the gift of the unexpected joy, Fruit of the Vine.

Thanks for connecting,


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