No, not THAT children of the corn. (To this day probably the scariest movie I ever saw as a kid.)
THIS children of the corn:
Friday night I took Zoe, Parker and Zoe’s friend Ashlyn to one of our local farms. They were having a charity night for a young girl who goes to my mom’s school who is battling cancer. This particular farm has a pumpkin patch and a corn maze, along with a general store filled with yummy treats- fresh honey, amazing sweet corn puffs, gourmet cheeses, soup mixes and local jams.
We actually have several farms in our area. Some have gotten into the wedding business, some have elaborate pumpkin patches with story time, petting zoos, special play areas. This farm has Bob’s corn maze, and it’s fantastic.
When my mom asked us to go to the corn maze, I had envisioned walking a path through a few rows of corn, easy peasy. 15, 20 minutes tops. Ha!
We went into the general store to purchase our tickets. Of course my mother knew every person in there. My friend Tabitha was working the register, since the people who own the farm are her in-laws. Tabitha suggested taking a picture of the maze in case we had a difficult time finding our way out. I scoffed a bit at her suggestion, but took the picture anyway.
Zoe insisted we NOT look at the picture, as that was “cheating.” We headed into the maze at about 630. The man standing at the entrance said that if we made it to the halfway point (the grey square in the upper left corner) and we didn’t think we could finish before it got dark, we could walk around the outside of the maze.
Once again, I scoffed.
He told us to be careful of the stalks, as they are very sharp, and you can cut your hand on the corn leaves. I had no idea this was a dangerous mission. He also mentioned that the first half of the maze was significantly less challenging than the second half.
Parker stood at the entrance, impatient to start.
I soon realized that my cute strappy sandals were completely inappropriate for navigating a muddy path. (We had a huge thunder and lightning storm the night before.)
It required a lot of checking my balance, which was tweaking my already tweaked lower back. Parker kept trying to run ahead, but I insisted he stay within sight. After a few minutes of weaving through the path, we came upon a group of kids, ranging in age from 7-12. As usual, my mother knew them. They had no adult with them and said they had lost the rest of their group. They told us they had been trying to find their way back to the beginning for over a half hour, and asked if they could stay with us.
The older one, also named Katie, was clearly the boss of the group. (I think there must be something to that name.) She was trying to tell us where to go, but Parker, the Napoleonic personality that he is, was having none of it. He marched himself to the front of the pack, no hesitation.
Zoe and Ashlyn stayed with the herd, they didn’t try to race ahead. Zoe was by far the loudest talker in our group. Everything she said was at full voice. When she wasn’t giving orders, she was chatting.
She said, “I keep getting bugs in my mouth!”
I responded, “Perhaps if you kept it closed, that wouldn’t happen.
Parker tried to talk everyone into going down one path, but he was outvoted. Following a standoff, he relented and came with us. After finding several dead ends, we ended back where he had wanted us to go.
I said, “Parker, you may have been right.”
Parker responded, “I may be right, you may be crazy!”
I’ve been listening to the Billy Joel station on Pandora, can you tell?
We turned and turned and then came to another crossroads. Parker insisted on going one way, while the group wanted to go another. I followed Parker to make sure I didn’t lose him.
He found a way out!
He’d found the entrance.
Somehow we had made our way back to the beginning. I called to the group to let the kids we had acquired in the maze know that we had found the start. They gratefully made their way and reunited with their families.
So. There we were, back at the beginning.
My father, the engineer, said, “From now on, we only turn right.”
Sounded like as good a plan as any.
As the sun began to set, my mother started getting concerned.
“Do you think they’ll send someone after us if we don’t make it out?”
“I think he said if we start yelling someone will come in to find us.”
And then… after 90 minutes of wandering…
Parker- “I found it! I found it!”
There it was. The halfway point.
It was glorious. Benches, fire pit, a port-a-potty.
Of course, by now it was 730, the sun was rapidly going down, and we had yet to eat dinner. My father suggested we call it a night and come back to do the second half another night, this time with flashlights.
As we made our way out into the open field, we saw a spectacular sight.
There are a lot of metaphors and life lessons that you can learn from going through a corn maze.
When you’re inside the maze, you have no perspective. When you look at the maze from above, it becomes so much more clear.
When you refuse to look at the map or listen to the guidance you’ve been given, it can make your journey that much more difficult. You’ll probably get where you are going eventually, but you’re gonna run into a lot of dead ends and a lot of frustration.
Sometimes you have to go back to the beginning. Sometimes you have to start over and do it the right way, when you’ve been doing it the wrong way.
You learn a lot about people’s personalities in a corn maze. Who is a born leader? Who has no clue what they are doing, but is loud and bossy anyway? Who gets flustered when lost, and who stays calm? Who can take directions, and who insists their way is always right?
You can race to your destination, but if you don’t know how to get there, you’ll find yourself going in circles.
Slow, steady and methodical really IS the best way to go.
Possibly, allowing your 7 year old to lead the way isn’t the best strategy.
Going through the maze is always better when it’s with someone you love, trust, laugh with, and generally enjoy their company.
Some say it isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey. And that’s true. But what’s the point of the journey if the destination isn’t spectacular?
We walked around the outside of the corn maze, along the pumpkin patch. It’s only the beginning of September, but the pumpkins are huge and ripe.
Farmer Bob says the pumpkins got ripe way too early because of our amazing summer weather we’ve enjoyed. They’re planning a “pumpkin hurl” because they probably won’t make it until Halloween without rotting first.
If you’re in the Seattle area, starting at the end of September, you too can experience Bob’s corn maze. I’m totally going back to finish the damn thing. This time, though, I’m bringing a flashlight and a backpack filled with food and water in case we get lost again.