We had just gotten out of the car after getting dinner when L asks me “so what are we doing with all these pots”. I had purchased a few larger colorful pots earlier this year in hopes of expanding on my backyard herb garden. After Z’s plant preschool lessons I had intended on planting with him a few herbs and veggies including: cilantro, rosemary, lavender, basil, garlic, and even trying out a vine pickling cucumber. Because of the chaos of this year, our spring projects were deferred to summer and my my original summer plans deferred to hopefully next year.

We were able to get a small batch of oregano and chives from last years pots in before the late summer heat but that was all.

Then we had an unexpected harvest. We have a green grape vine that I have been pruning and training to climb along our fence line in the side-yard. In past years, the grapes were always too sower and would get eaten by birds and insects before we could harvest. This year, because of the dry heat, the grapes have taken off! We are unsure what do with so many of them and they are not seedless. But it is a fun surprise nonetheless.

A few weeks ago we discovered a large leafed plant growing in a corner between our sidewalk/backporch and our yard. Instead of mowing it and weeding like L normally does, he left it out of curiosity. Then it began to flower-yellow flowers. I thought maybe it was zucchini or squash but wondered how it had gotten there. But when we got back from our coast trip we saw it had gotten really large. That’s when L voiced this is where we carved pumpkins last year. So we may end up with an unexpected pumpkin harvest come this fall as well.

It’s always hard when your plans don’t work out. You buy all you need, you make a plan and dream up what to do with the results. But especially this year life has come and forced many of us to re-prioritize and put plans or dreams aside.

We are facing decision fatigue and now they are coining the phrase pandemic fatigue as we keep cycling new or additional regulations and experience grief over and over again. We keep making plans, buying for them, then having to re-orient and re-evaluate and change where our energy and time and resources go. We have to put out one more fire, to resolve another conflict, to respond to another new expectation. Then the little things that fill us up are put on a every lengthening waiting list.

Still I am finding it’s amazing when one plan doesn’t work out another unexpected joy comes along to ease your agitated soul. If we look closely and stay aware-there are little moments of relief-of joy-of hope that are filtered in. Where we once had a certain plan or dream; something different, surprising, and beautiful comes up along instead. It may not be the same-what we wanted-what we had imagined or planned for- but it’s wonderful nonetheless. These unexpected harvests, make all the difference in a confusing and chaotic season.

What unexpected harvests are you seeing in your life?

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