Thursday, December 9, 2010

Life Transitions: Being, Becoming, and the Rotten Pumpkin

Underneath about a foot of snow in my backyard is the vegetable garden. Consisting of several raised beds that are home to my tomatoes and peppers every summer, they are mostly empty of growing things now (except for one last brave kale plant which may end up the subject of another blog entry).

In one of them, under all that snow, sits our Halloween jack-o-lantern pumpkin. Or rather...what used to be our Halloween jack-o-lantern pumpkin.  Right now it's more like a slimy, icky orange-ish half-frozen blob.  It's on the way to becoming part of the soil in which next year's tomatoes will grow.  But it's not soil yet. And it's not really a pumpkin anymore either. It is in the in-between place.

It is becoming part of the soil. It is un-becoming its former pumpkin self.  And it's not particularly pretty.

People in transition can be like my rotting pumpkin. Undergoing a transformative, life-changing experience isn't always a pretty thing either. We aren't what we used to be. We aren't yet what we will become. We are in-between, in that time-out-of-time liminal place where powerful changes take place. The changes we are experiencing might spill over into the lives of those around us as we lash out in frustration or despair. We may instead cocoon within ourselves, withdrawing from the world, not wanting to expose our rotting-pumpkin selves to harsh criticism from those who don't understand.

I've gone through a few rotting-pumpkin transitions in my life. Un-becoming what you were, and becoming something else is not an easy process.  You might be in the middle of such a time right now. If you are, know that you are not alone. Know that the Earth is journeying right along with you.

Next year, the soil underneath where the pumpkin sat will be especially fertile and rich. Something wonderful will grow there.  The possibilities are endless.

Photo Credit:  flickr user Aunt Owwee at


  1. This has been a time of transition for me. I think many are going through this un-becoming as you say. It is a time for that, as Mother Earth is going through her rebirthing processes. Your pumpkin is a wonderful example.
    Thank You Rebecca for striking a chord in your sharing...
    Wishing you a joyful Holiday Season, and an Abundance of Blessings through the coming New Year!

  2. Indeed, everything returns to the Infinite Compost. Is there anything more nourishing and full of creative potential than compost?

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