Amid rushing to meet a friend at Starbucks (and pre-ordering a Pumpkin Spice latte in my head), Mother Nature winked at me. She does this unexpectedly (often at what seems to be an inconvenient time), as if to say “Psst! Got a minute?” I’ve learned that if I take even just a few seconds to slow down, breathe, and put my current anxieties and agenda on pause...Mother Nature always reminds me of a timeless tidbit of wisdom - bits I can easily forget amid an always-on world (never mind the always-on inner-voice that taunts me about what I should be doing).
Today, she called out to me through a cart of seasonal produce (the one you see pictured here in fact - pumpkins, gourds and squash, oh-my!). I stopped and literally caught my breath, struck by the stunning visual. It sounds silly, but it seemed like I was seeing it for the first time this Fall. And it dawned on me that this is the only time of year that these things come around in all their genuine glory...delight us with their vibrant colors...regale us with their rustic flavors.
“Oh Jen, you're pondering produce? How cute…” the pesky inner-voice in my head patronized. “Chop-chop, let's head Starbucks-ho and let's get this show on the road.”
But I shushed the voice, and stayed still for five seconds more.
In that brief moment, Mother Nature's morsel appeared: the sight or taste of pumpkins will never satisfy me - or give me a cozy autumnal exhale - the same way amid the sprightly days of Spring. And I'll never be as giddy in the Summer about the prospect of pumpkin gnocchi with brown butter sage sauce. It sounds so simple, but it's like I suddenly saw a pumpkin's quiet confidence in its place in time; Having no need to be more than it is in this single season; Or proactively plan how to be relevant next season, or scale its appeal to be a beloved sensation year-round.
I took a d-eeeeep breath, and continued on my merry autumnal way.
Soon after, I stood in line at Starbucks, still thinking about how at-peace those pumpkins were in their seasonal-skin: what if I could do that a bit more? Instead of rushing through a season to try to make the next season better...just settle in and confidently embrace that solitary season. Accept the cornucopia of my current challenges, joys, uncertainties, victories, desires, insecurities and disappointments...and trust that in working with these here-and-now-trappings, the best hues and flavors - the most veritable feast if you will - will be possible. Ahhh, even just the thought of it (no matter how freakin' tough I knew it was to do this in daily practice) made me smile.
As I left with my Pumpkin Spice latte, I saluted Starbucks for managing to channel Fall’s charm into a frothy fashion…and I winked back at Mother Nature. Not only for the inspiration and newfound "Tao of pumpkin" wisdom, but also for being the real-deal: a one-size-fits-all, steadfast reminder that the most satisfying way we can decorate or satiate our lives? Is to pause, breathe…take a big ol' sip of the season we're in right now...and savor it. If even only for 5 seconds.
Keep-on Mama Nature. And while you're at it, make it a Venti.