Fall Harvest I
Fall Harvest I (Kathy Grundei)

For over 25 years we lived in a home that we remember with fondness for the beautiful grape vine fence that defined one of the property lines of our yard. Although the grape vines belonged to our neighbors, this 8+ foot high wall was gladly attended to by both of us. In the spring, it always was announced when one of us first saw the vines begin to grow upwards to the first wire. We noted the new change of the vines as we noted the return of the robins. Those wires would later support the massive growth and extension. I remember watching with wonder as the vines, throughout early spring filled in and once again brought privacy to the yard. Later in the fall the vines would be abundant with grapes.

I was reading a blog last week about creativity and the metaphor for vines was used to explain creativity. The writer David Naimji wrote about defining creativity through this metaphor. As I read, I remembered those grape vines. Grape vines send out tendrils as they grow. The tendrils are designed to wrap around something in the environment to give the plant support as it grows to maturity. The tendrils are like the plant’s divergent ideas. They shoot out in many directions and if one of these tendrils affixes itself to a post or wire in the fence it wraps tightly around that wire or post and grows more strongly from there. The tight curvy spiral of the tendril is amazing to “unwind.” Its natural inclination to stay in the tight corkscrew growth. Many tendrils go nowhere. If there is nothing for them to attach themselves to they eventually dry up. But they took a risk! Sometimes a tendril going nowhere one day will happen to latch on to something that wasn’t there the day before. Maybe they were just ahead of their time?

When I find myself doing a “bird walk” with my ideas I have to remember that I am not sure about what this the tendril might represent. Yes, it could dry up and lead to know where, it could be the idea that leads to personal expression, or perhaps it is just a nugget of an idea that I will come back to at a later time. It may attach itself to another tendril and become even richer and deeper.

We all need to remember to honor, support, and nurture those tendrils of creativity. Creativity seems to appear by magic but it really is about growth, risk taking, and a that deep well that supports growth.

Thanks for reading!

Source: David Naimji is a teacher at C.R. Marchant Middle School in York, Ontario.