By Elvenia Gray-Sandiford
As we embrace the arrival of fall, the world around us is preparing to hibernate, just like nature itself. Days grow shorter, nights longer, and the air turns crisper, reminding us of the changing seasons. In this transitional phase, we find ourselves appreciating the warmth and sunshine that linger as we bid farewell to the scorching days of summer.
Yet even as we savour the beauty of autumn, our thoughts are not far from the recent and continuous wildfires that have ravaged (and are still ravaging) our province and other parts of our world. We are mindful of the environmental challenges that continue to impact communities globally, leaving a mark that goes beyond the changing seasons.
As a morning routine, I walk to my garden to express my gratitude for the bountiful harvest it yielded this summer. I couldn’t help but reflect on the tireless efforts put into nurturing the garden and the sheer abundance it produced. It filled me with a sense of thankfulness, knowing that the earth was willing to share its bounty.
But my contemplation took a deeper turn. I found myself pondering not just the harvest itself but the expectations we attach to our efforts. I had planned to grow squash, and so I went to the farm to purchase squash seeds, which I diligently planted. However, nature had its own surprises in store.
As the garden flourished, I soon realized that it was harbouring more than just squash. Among the lush green leaves were cantaloupes and cucumbers. Strangely, the leaves of these vine vegetables bore a striking resemblance to each other. It was only upon closer examination that I noticed subtle differences in the leaves’ texture and size, but the overall appearance was nearly identical.
My attempts to cultivate an abundance of squash resulted in an unexpected harvest of cantaloupes. While I may not have chosen cantaloupes at the market, these surprises from my garden turned out to be a true delight. They were perfectly ripe, sweet, and bursting with flavour and juice, a far cry from the squash I had originally anticipated.
This unexpected twist in my garden’s tale made me contemplate the way we often categorize people based on external attributes such as race, gender, ethnicity, or geographical origin. Just as the leaves of vine vegetables can look similar, people may appear alike on the surface, yet be vastly different.
It’s a reminder that we should not hastily judge others by external appearances. We should resist the urge to categorize people based on preconceived notions, for it’s what’s on the inside that truly counts. Just like the content of a fruit, it’s the character, values, and experiences of an individual that define them.
This unexpected bounty of cantaloupes serves as a poignant metaphor for life itself. Sometimes, what we receive may not align with our initial expectations, but it can be exactly what we need. It underscores the importance of remaining open to life’s surprises, embracing diversity, and appreciating the uniqueness of each individual.
As we bid adieu to the gardening season and welcome the fall, let us carry this lesson with us. Let us remember that appearances can be deceptive, and it’s by the fruit they bear that we truly know them. Happy fall, everyone, and may it be filled with delightful surprises and deeper understanding.