The more commonly known phrase references grass in varying shades of green. And don’t get me wrong, I like grass and all… but really? Sure it is nice to stroll on, play Frisbee on or maybe lay on (with a blanket so you don’t get stains). It even smells nice freshly cut. But there really isn’t much else too appealing about grass. At least not in my opinion.
Fruit, on the other hand…. Well, fruit looks good….. smells good…. tastes good. Fruit is way more tempting than grass. Unfortunately, as we sometimes perceive it, the most tantalizing fruit appears to be hanging on somebody else’s vine.
Now I’m sure none of you have ever been tempted in such a way. But for arguments sake and another blog under my belt, let’s explore this a little bit.
There is no denying the delight of having something new. Car lots and retail stores literally bank on that part of human nature that tires of the familiar and looks to replace and upgrade. This is all fine and dandy when we are talking about a new Ford or pair of Nikes. The problem comes when the source of our discontent is sitting across the dinner table. In reality, the discontent most likely is not about who is in front of us. Truthfully, most of the time, it resides within us.
Somewhere along the way we have been conditioned to believe that those few blissful months (even years) of an unfolding true love romance will last forever. Where everything is precious and sweet and the time and days go by with ease and abandon. This love ‘high’ is intoxicating. Unfortunately, that does not last, nor is it the definition of true love or commitment. The shine eventually dulls on the rose colored glasses and some of the high is lost. When that happens, some people panic and try to assign blame; mostly on the other person. Instead of staying the course, occasionally they look outside for a solution. They run into someone who appears to have all the answers to their prayers and a quick fix to their problems. This person is happy, insightful, put together; and taken.
Life seems so unfair at that moment. Why does their fruit look so much more delicious?
Well in one word….the answer is CULTIVATION.
Let’s consider the Grape….
Grapes were introduced to the Americas 300 years ago by Spanish explorers. There are several varieties of grapes and a wide range of colors. They are consumed as a simple fruit, in countless recipes and even turned into wine. They grow on vines and often are intertwined on a trellis. So what goes into producing this juicy and versatile fruit?
PLANTING: As with most fruits, the grape must be planted in deep, rich soil and kept well watered. Grapes have a deep root system and the health of the plant is an indicator of its root growth. When planting from a shoot, everything must be pruned away except for one stem and cut back all but two buds. Did you see that?? Read it again…. The grapevine starts with ONE stem and TWO buds. That seriously is what came up when I googled it. How awesome is that?
A good, solid relationship starts with one committed partnership between two people. All distractions and other ‘buds’ have to be cut away. The relationship needs a deep root system fed and watered with the nutrients of love, understanding, sacrifice, kindness.
MAINTENANCE: Grapes need extra fertilizer the first few years to establish and strengthen the vine. Most articles also recommend a good crop cover to keep the weeds out.
Your relationship needs attention beyond the first honeymoon stage. It takes years to settle in and secure its foundation. Focus on meeting the needs and desires of your partner. Cover them with your love and faithful promises to keep the weeds from moving in.
SUPPORT: Grapes grow better on a vertical support. The tender vines need the trellis to protect them from the wind and keep them out of the dust or mud. They thrive when they are supported and allowed to have full access to the sun.
Your partner needs support; as do you. It is a dual responsibility/reward system. You both stand in the gap to protect the other from the winds of change and discouragement each of you will face. Knowing that steady support is always there helps create an atmosphere for personal growth and allows both to flourish.
One other interesting fact… grapes will not continue to ripen once they are plucked from the vine. Let that soak in a minute.
So in addition to a gardening lesson, I hope you understand what I am trying to say.
If someone else’s fruit looks healthier and juicier than yours maybe it is because of very good care and support. Instead of being jealous or even possibly trying to take it from its home, you should take a look at your own horticultural skills. How committed have you been to keep away the distractions? Are you watering your partner with love? How supportive have you been? Are you cultivating an affectionate and passionate environment?
Look, I know it takes both parties. I am not suggesting that one person has to shoulder the entire burden. That is untrue and unfair. What I am suggesting is to understand the amount of work, yes work, that is involved. The grapes in your salad, fruit tray or glass of wine did not just magically fall off the vine. They were harvested after much time and toil were invested. It is worth it to invest the same into your relationship.
If you are single and notice luscious fruit belonging to someone else, leave it alone. It is ok to admire it and make plans for your own garden, but allow that one to continue to flourish and ripen where it is. And as a side note, if it (they) are not healthy and thriving and you believe you are better suited to care for it and revive it, just know you are taking on something that is already shaky and weak. Transplanting a sick vine is hardly ever successful and extremely difficult.
This life is a beautiful garden. We all have a place in it. We make it diverse, colorful, delicious, spicy, fragrant and radiant. If you are so fortunate as to have found someone planted beside you, cherish them. Help them to grow and thrive. Be happy for your neighbor’s fruit, but truly appreciate and cultivate your own bountiful crop.