My last blog, the story of the little seed, was an extended metaphor. A metaphor is a comparison of two unlike objects. The comparison is meant to bring about a deeper understanding of the compared object. An extended metaphor is simply what it says, an extended form (longer version), of the comparison. In that former blog, I compared the words we write to the little seed growing in its plot of ground. But, there is another metaphor that could be applied.
That little seed can easily be compared to one individual life. The growth process, described within the story, can easily be compared to our own personal experience. We come to life, wrapped tightly within our own narrowed view of how the world works (preconceived notions), and our own place within that world. Each experience we encounter can and does challenge us to grow stronger, a bit wiser, so that we can flourish within whatever environment we find ourselves.
The diverse elements within that environment: the sun, wind, rain, night, darkness, furred and feathered creatures, are opportunities to learn, to grow, and develop the strength necessary to carry us even further. All of it is a learning process, and we can choose to learn, to grow, or to be diminished or devoured by such encounters. And, just as in the story, any growth is really hard work. It may seem, especially in childhood, that growth is simply a natural force that happens without our permission. We eat, quench our thirst, and we grow.
There is a danger in that sort of thinking. It could mean that when we reach adulthood, we assume we have arrived and can put our energies into something else other than the growth process. Remember, that little seed had only made it through the first day and night of his process. He still had a long way to go to fruition. Do we ever really arrive?
I hope not. I want to continue to grow and bring forth fruit until my very last breath. That is one of the reasons I am here, writing these words. I don’t know it all, but I certainly intend to keep striving for just that end. And yes, my words are the seeds I plant on the path of my own journey. That in turn, brings me back to my original extended metaphor. The words I write are a challenge to myself to continue to grow and to learn. They are my friends like the sun, the wind and the rain. They can also be those four-leggeds that come snuffling out of the darkness, hungry and seeking to satisfy their own needs. But, if I truly want to grow, I must learn how to deal with each and every one of them. It is very hard work, and it is done one word at a time, one seed dropped here and there.
My daily writing facilitates whatever growth process I am engaged in. In that sense, it is the food I use to sustain me on my journey. Whatever seeds I plant can also be the sustenance used by other fellow travelers along that path. I don’t particularly like vegetables, prefer fruit. But some of my words are definitely of the leafy green and starchy variety. That’s okay, I’ve learned enough to know that a balanced diet is far more conducive to growth than any other. Some days, I write nothing but vegetables and simply hope that those snuffles I hear, coming my way from the shadows ahead, are the sounds of vegetarians, not carnivores.