What If the Carrot Didn’t Come Up?

Starting Over: A Riff on The Carrot Seed

carrotseed

As the original story goes:

A little boy planted a carrot seed.

His mother said, “I’m afraid it won’t come up.”

His father said, “I’m afraid it won’t come up.”

And his big brother said, “It won’t come up.”

Every day the little boy pulled up the weeds around the seed and sprinkled the ground with water.

But nothing came up

And nothing came up.

Everyone kept saying it wouldn’t come up.

But he still pulled up the weeds around it every day and sprinkled the ground with water.

And then, one day,

a carrot came up

just as the little boy had known it would.

But.

What if the carrot didn’t come up?

His mother admonished, “I told you so.”

His father scolded, “I told you so.”

And his big brother mocked, “I told you so, you little loser.”

The little boy looked down at the ground and felt terrible about himself.

He did feel like a loser.

He should have known better.

Everyone had told him that it wouldn’t come up.

But he didn’t want to believe them.

Until finally one day,

he understood that this carrot was not coming up

as he thought it would.

A few days went by.

He didn’t like feeling like a loser

this little boy.

So he reached into his pocket

where he kept the packet of carrot seeds

and thought to himself

I can try this again.

And so.

A little boy planted a carrot seed.

His mother said, “I’m afraid it won’t come up.”

His father said, “I’m afraid it won’t come up.”

And his big brother said, “It won’t come up.”

Every day the little boy pulled up the weeds around the seed and sprinkled the ground with water.

But nothing came up

And nothing came up.

Everyone kept saying it wouldn’t come up.

But he still pulled up the weeds around it every day and sprinkled the ground with water.

And then, one day,

a carrot came up

just as the little boy had known it would.

Synchronicity

Before today I had never heard of Ursula Nordstrom or Rebecca Pepper Sinkler. It’s crazy how the world works, because now I feel like I’m connected to them both. I think these two awesome women may have a hand in changing the course of my life.

I was out for a run yesterday. And feeling pretty jaunty, especially considering the week as it were (see last post). I wandered off the path to have a closer look at the lake. This wandering off the path is new for me. You might already know that I used to be the type of runner who wouldn’t stop for anything. Now I find myself checking out all the nests in the trees and the birds floating on the water.

So anyway, I was sort of just standing there, maybe looking at the Chicago skyline 10 miles out, when the painted boulders at my feet begged for my attention. They line NU’s shore. Keeping the landfill in and the water out I suppose. It is not an exaggeration to say that I have run past these rocks thousands of times. Maybe once in awhile I would glance over and grab some energy from their brightness or smile when there was a marriage proposal or a celebration of a championship or graduation.

So, yesterday was a surprise. This giant rock (I can’t believe I don’t recall the colors!) calls out and speaks to me,

“The reluctance to put away childish things may be a requirement of genius,” it says.

Ok. I stand there for a bit longer. Staring at this rock to soak it in.

I chant the quote all the way home, and it makes me smile and then laugh, and then do some fartleks.

And, it convinced me that it was time to sign on to Facebook and Twitter. So I did!

Rebecca Pepper Sinkler makes this statement about Ursula Nordstrom in her discussion of the book, Dear Genius, The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom.

Ursula Nordstrom was the editor of many, many beloved children’s books. Among them, The Carrot Seed.