Yesterday, I found a bunch of baby watermelons in the garden.
|This one's about the size of a large grape.|
|This one's more the size of a tennis ball.|
Funny—I hadn’t noticed that tennis-ball-sized watermelon at all. I’d kind of forgotten, in the midst of picking about nine billion ripening tomatoes, that we’d bought a watermelon plant, actually. And suddenly, there it was.
But I guess that’s how it works, isn’t it? Things grow while you’re not looking.
Growth always has a way of sneaking up on us. If we didn’t have some sort of marker for it, we might never know it had happened at all. We need our chalk on the wall, marking the difference between how tall we are now and how tall we were last summer. Only these days, my “chalk on the wall” might take the form of cracking open my first published work, reading and marveling at who I was back then, measuring it against who I am now. It might take the form of looking at the schedule and shape of my days right now—which don’t look like the shape of my days ten, fifteen, twenty years ago.
These days, it seems that looking back is, essentially, my chalk on the wall. It’s how I think we all wind up measuring how far we’ve come.
In a year or two, I’ll look back on this summer, and I’ll see how I’m different. And I’ll know, even during the summer of the surprise watermelon, when I had my head down writing basically from the early morning hours until well into the night—I was soaking up the sun and the rain and growing every single day.