Sunday, August 26, 2007

Tomato Island

A morning stroll around the gardens is a habit of mine, deeply ingrained. It is a new day, a new beginning...a time to give thanks and receive blessings. A time to say Hello, World! and breathe in the fresh, briny Air.

I search for new blossoms amongst the plants, signs of incipient problems, and I note areas that need a little upkeep to show off their vibrant personalities. I add these to the list of to-dos I keep on a big mental blackboard.

It is meditative...this communing with the plants. They are part of me; I receive benefit from them in the form of energy. If I need a release from stress, for instance, I will naturally gravitate to the plant that will give me peace and tranquility...Lady Lavender. She is everywhere in my garden.

During my walk I always peruse the vegetable patch...to see which plants Rabbit used for his dinner last night. Rabbit doesn't seem greedy, he leaves plenty for us...yet he always seems to choose the choicest, tenderest Lettuce leaf or Squash.

The weather has been extreme this year and the Vegetables show it. Very hot and humid one day and cold Rain and Wind the next, all Season I have watched them struggle to adapt, being set back constantly.

The Tomatoes, in particular, are not their usual happy, bouncing verdant selves, loaded with red globes of Fruit. Instead they seem spindly, reaching for Sun who rarely showed. And when he did, it was with a blazing, scorching hot breath, that stopped all reproduction.

And so, the Tomato mirrors the weather. The fruit set is less than normal; the skin is thicker, there are less seeds. According to a local gardener, the fruit protects itself from the extremes by growing a thicker skin than usual. And because dry, hot spells have also occurred, the fruit is less juicy, more meaty.

But, I am told, they more than make up for it by their sweetness and very strong tomato taste. I would not know; Tomatoes in my garden have yet to ripen. This year, I believe I personally know each and every Tomato here; there are not very many of them.

And they are all green, with the exception of one...an "Early Girl". At this time of year, we are usually eating Tomatoes from the garden, heading into prime harvest season.

I feel badly for these stalwart soldiers, who, this year, have had to endure extreme temperatures. Plants will adapt to changing weather patterns, sometimes at the expense of their fruit, it seems. I fear Blight...the temperatures and conditions are just right for it. At the first sign of it, I will pick what fruit I have, red or not.

One night, as I slept, with Tomato on my mind, having just walked amongst them, I dreamed I was afloat in a rowboat on an azure, calm Sea...a green Isle in the far distance. I did not paddle; slowly but surely, my boat breached the distance between the Isle and I. It seemed there was no urgency.

As the boat floated closer, I noticed round balls of fruit hanging from the very green, leafy trees. I instantly understood they were Tomatoes, all a different shade of many brilliant colours...red, orange, yellow, green, purple. The Trees that covered the Island were Tomato plants.

I found myself wandering the Forest floor. I was enveloped by a feeling of contentment, well-being and pure happiness. Strange melodies played in the background to the chatter coming from each Globe that hung from the Trees...chatter interspersed with giggles and peals of flute-like laughter.

I stood and watched, something I do in dreams like this. I saw spindly Trees, with perhaps only one Globe hanging off it, being sheltered and encouraged by the bigger, more established ones. I saw cat-faced Globes, deformed Globes, tiny Globes, taking their place right beside the perfect, round specimens. I felt the complete acceptance of each other's peculiarities.

On the forest floor grew herbs of every variety...Thyme, Parsley, Basil and many leafy Lettuces, their frilly skirts holding sparkling Water...

There was total equality and freedom here, with happiness and joy spilling out into the deep surrounding Forest of leafy glades. The atmosphere completely covered me, as softly as eiderdown. I laughed, in my dream, out of sheer happiness.

The otherworldly music intensified, the chatter increased, the laughter pealed...and into this dream of happiness floated a..........figure that seemed amorphous, yet had soft, nurturing feminine energy. She seemed clad in scarlet ribbons that drifted with her everchanging self...a self that transmitted many iridescent colours, all swirling around those scarlet ribbons.

Her eyes were steadfast, however. Round and dark, soft and warm, when her eyes met mine, I felt tears flow...there was such love pouring from her figure to mine.

I awoke, with her eyes still on mine. Chuckling softly, feeling warm and cared for all over, I fell into a dreamless sleep, with the intent on researching Tomato dreams in the morning...

Dreaming of Tomatoes foretells of good health to come, with much contentment and harmony in relationships.

Today, as I wander amongst my Tomato Survivors, I see the plants in a different World, one where I seemed insignificant, my figure small. I see the The Tomato Diva pouring her lovely energy into my soul, and I feel the contentment and love again.

No longer do I nostalgically long for other times, when the Tomato harvest seemed never ending, when jars of jewel coloured Globes lined the counter. Each Tomato in the garden this year adapted and adapted and adapted to the extremes...and still they hang strong and sure, showing colours here and there. And still, they seem to shelter the little ones.

Another lesson from the garden...plants are just full of wisdom, aren't they?

5 comments:

  1. Well, Tomato Diva. Love that. What an unusual post! My poor little attempt at gardening in the new home has resulted in only a few surviving herbs and a green pepper, which survived Rabbit's Missouri cousin. May you harvest the survivors and enjoy.

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  2. The peaches in Clanton (Shelia will know what I'm talking about) were all but ruined by this year's early frost and unrelenting heat. All of them are tiny by comparison to a normal year. But they are also sweeter. Same as your tomatoes.

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  3. Livia4:39 PM

    What a beautiful dream! I wonder, is there a tomato goddess? Our tomatoes were doing well up until a month ago...now their progress has dwindled to a crawl. The plants are hanging in there but they're having a tough time. Here's hoping the weather turns kindly to 'maters!

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  4. Sheila,

    Many of Rabbit's family lives here; I do hope they don't all have a family reunion, with their Missouri cousins!

    DB,

    let's hope my tomatoes are sweet...I haven't tasted any yet, lol! But they seem to be coming along nicely now. Most of my harvest will be ready late September, which is very late for this climate. And unusual.

    Livia,

    I found very little on legends and stories on the Tomato Diva. But all plants have an energy about them that differentiates one from the other.

    And in this dream, to me she seemed ephemeral, except for those scarlet ribbons that coalesced around her.I would recognize those anywhere, after this dream. An energy imprint.

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  5. Great post. I always love your beautiful, descriptive writing style Marion. Tomato Diva - what a lovely expression. Unfortunately the fruit and vegetable crops in England have suffered a great deal with the bad weather this year. I love tomatoes. Sounds like you had a lovely dream Marion.

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