Saturday, May 16, 2009

Second Chances

It was a Valentine's Day gift for Emily. OK, so maybe it was for me too. I had planted a grapevine in Texas, but we moved before it was mature enough to produce fruit and I was always a bit sad about that. I had already decided to buy Emily a potted plant for Valentine's Day. I get tired of buying expensive flower arrangements that just wither and die in a week. Then I saw that Home Depot had grapevines on sale. They came in a two-pack, and I carefully looked for and found one that had two healthy and strong vines. 

Emily wasn't too sure about this as a V-day gift at first, (She is a pretty smart girl after all...) but she warmed up to it. Since February in Nothern Virginia is not really grapevine planting season, we set it on top of the aquarium where it immediately began shooting up. It was about four or five feet tall and starting to climb along the roof when we decided it was time to plant it. We set it out on the porch in preparation, but then the procrastination started. For one reason or another, we let it sit out there for another few weeks. It didn't seem to mind, it was sending out new creepers and leaves every day and looking very happy. Every time I passed it, I would tell myself that today was a good day to get it in the ground. If only I didn't have to... (fill in the blank. Any excuse will do...)

Then, we had a late frost. We woke up one morning to frosted windshields and wilted, brown grapevines. We were sad, and felt bad for having let this poor plant die through our neglect. The neglect continued however as we just let the package with its brown, dead branches stay out on the porch. Perhaps as a reminder of our failure. I thought a couple of times that maybe I should just put them in the ground anyway, that maybe they weren't completely dead. But procrastination seems to be a way of life at our house, and the poor thing just stayed right there on the porch where it died.

We had given up on our little vines, without even so much as giving them a chance. They died right there in their white plastic bags and we immediately wrote them off as just another thing that we "didn't get around to" in time. No second chances for grapevines around here! If the victory isn't easy, or if we experience a little setback we immediately throw our hands in the air and say: "Oh well, we tried." 

A wise person once said "Do, or do not. There is no try!" But that doesn't really make sense in this case. Another wise person once told me that "I will try" is just opening an escape route to failure. If it gets hard, if things don't go well, you can shrug your shoulders and say: "Oh well, I tried."

Our grapevines didn't make excuses and give up. Despite being left in their packaging for three months. Despite being frozen and left for dead, they kept on striving to succeed. And one day this week, I noticed something. Our vine was not dead! From out of the plastic wrapper that enclosed the roots, one of the vines had shot out a couple of cheerful green leaves. Quickly, before it died again I cut open the bag and put the vine in the ground at the corner of the porch where it will get plenty of sunshine and wrap itself around the porch railing and posts. I cut open the other one too, just to see. Sure enough, there were some small leaf sprouts there too. It was also quickly planted at the opposite end of the porch where they can each climb the railing and posts and creep towards each other. 

Our two little vines didn't give up. They didn't try, they didn't make excuses, they just did.

 Yoda would be proud! 

© 2009 Tyler Willson. All rights reserved

1 comment:

  1. Poor little grape vines! We need some fruit trees for our yard. Luckily across the street is an apple orchard, but they usually have a lot of worms in the apples. I want a lemon, pear, and tangerine tree. And we'll go from there...