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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Humble Gardener: Revisited

As fall approaches and summer ends, I have been thinking back on this summer, mid-June, when our gardens were lush, vivid green, and full of hope.  The weather was pleasant and the rains plentiful, producing  tiny yellow flowers on plants that bore promise of what was to come.  The possibilities seemed endless.

I had a wonderful summer as an urban humble gardener, cherishing every bite of our back yard crop..  The cucumbers came in early with their climbing vines twirling up the garage trellis.  We ate them daily while they lasted.

The green bell peppers thrived and the jalapenos kicked butt.  Even through the heat of summer, the basil, thyme, parsley, and lemon balm kept going and growing.  The dill couldn't take it and vanished.

Because  Michael purchased 19 heirloom tomato plants this summer, our tomatoes were plentiful.  They lined the back deck in containers like soldiers on guard.  We tended them carefully and lovingly;  and they responded in bounty.

All summer long, we ate tomatoes every way possible. Every. Way. Possible. We've enjoyed them in some form every night since they started coming in,  just plucked from the vine and still warm from the sun. Eden.  Paradise. Perfect.  They made me think of my father, Marge, Granny, and everyone I ever knew that grew and loved fresh summer tomatoes. We did it. We grew our own . Michael and I tended them, shared them, cooked with them, and fully enjoyed them.  I regret now having grown a bit weary of them. 

This morning I went out to water the ragged tomato jungle.  Even though we've watered them twice daily, they're brown from the relentless intense heat, lack of rain,  covered with fallen pin oak leaves, and sad. It seemed pointless to nourish  the fallen soldiers.  Why? 

Although tattered and ugly they were, and are,  still trying to please Michael and me.  Even though tired and spent, they're producing fruit.  Beautiful glistening jewels dotted through browned crackled leaves.

I watered them this morning without hope,
only to be surprized by their resilience and bravery and filled my T-shirt with gorgeous ripe sun-kissed tomatoes.  My morning haul.

Humbled, indeed.

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