Thursday, June 25, 2015

Life Lessons from Potatoes

I was just having this conversation with a student yesterday- we don't appreciate enough our mistakes. There is something to learn in making them. Perhaps often. Or recognizing them often. Or looking for them often. This life lesson came to fruition today as I dug potatoes. And here's the thing- I didn't even plant these potatoes. The truth is I did a crappy job last year harvesting potatoes and those potatoes were going to let me know about it with delayed gratification. But I got the message today as my trowel turned black earth and revealed the hidden pearls of more than just nourishment.

Last year I planted these pathetic, wrinkled, old, little potatoes. When I went to harvest, perhaps later than I should have, I was hugely disappointed. Ugh. I give up. I'm not planting anymore potatoes. I suck at this.
I was sure of myself, as I am, maybe too often. 

This spring I noticed a few potato plants rising from that same earth. Ok, maybe I missed a couple. Then there were more. They weren't fed, I didn't plant them at the right time or the right depth. I hadn't even planted them, for crying out loud! They had ignored all of the proper lessons of potato planting handed down to me for generations. They did not follow the human rules.
And this is what I got:
First dig. First 4 feet. Probably 3x more to dig. 
WTF, potatoes?

Philosophical Life Lesson: How often do we ask ourselves- what have I learned from this? How often do we have our minds and eyes open or asked ourselves- why do I believe this? Is there a better way? What makes me think this? Am I doing this because this is the way it has always been done? Should I question my authority? Does believing something because I want it to be true impede me from finding a different answer? 
Sometimes what we think we know gets in the way of finding out what we can. 

Potato gardening lesson: maybe there is a better time than the time I was told to plant them. Maybe the depth isn't all that important. Maybe I can even plant them the year before I harvest and not the year of. What will I do differently this time? First, I'm going to plant potatoes again. In fact, I am going to plant potatoes at EXACTLY the wrong time of year, because I believe the potato has knowledge that I am clearly lacking. 
Find knowledge where you would never have thought to look.

I feel like such a spud.

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