Bowl of tomatoes

One Ripe Tomato

I’m afraid of this, as I am of many things. First, I think of the work. Then, the possibility of failure.

I know the routine. Pour the soil into a bucket and get it to take water. When it holds, scoop it into pots and decide how many seeds of each thing to plant. But what if I plant too many? What if I don’t plant enough? What if six black tomatoes grow, but none of the French? What if I should have bought more Roma seeds instead of saving them myself? Did I even save them right? Do I remember knowing what I was doing, or did I just fool myself into thinking it?

I wish I could, but I cannot point to past success for evidence that things will be okay. I cannot not be afraid. I am. I always have been. Saying it is part of how I live with it, and I manage to move forward anyway. It’s just my way to fear each step, each decision, each possibility that nothing will work. And maybe it won’t. It might not.

But it might.

And I suppose that’s why gardening is good for me. It usually works because plants are made to grow, and most of the time, they oblige. Do I talk about this a lot? Probably. I have to repeat this story over and again to get myself to move through the fear. How much work will it take this year? How many plants will I lose to wind or hail? I’m just a gardener, not a farmer, so these are small questions, but sometimes it feels like my whole life rests on a single ripe tomato.

  1. Hi Naomi, it’s Marilyn Guggenheim (posting with my new pen name). I picture you babying your little tomato seedlings into sprouts with first leaves, then second leaves, millimeter by millimeter, day by day. Tomatoes grow so slowly at first, don’t they? Just like us, slowly getting to know ourselves each moment, reaching for insights, sometimes succeeding with a red, shiny, magnificent one that tastes delicious and nourishes the ones that follow.

    Liked by 1 person

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