Today is a gorgeous morning. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the air still carries a small hint of rain from the storm that passed through last night. There are green sprouts in my garden beds- visible, tangible proof that from tiny seeds great things come to pass.
This year I have gotten a little exotic in my gardening. For Christmas, I received a large envelope filled with heirloom vegetable seeds. So seeds for chiogga beets, Tom thumb lettuce, key lime lettuce, amarillo carrots, Yugoslavian red cabbages, brightest breakfast radishes, and baby bok choi have come up.
It gives me no small pleasure to look out my windows and see the small green sprouts standing proudly in their crooked rows. It makes me feel a part of something larger than myself, a player in the eternal cycle of seasons. By pushing these seeds into some prepared dirt, I have become an active participate in the circle of life. I desperately want to stand on a cliff somewhere with my envelope of seeds raised high, while a chorus of fruit and vegetables below me chant, “Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba!”
(Yes. I have Lion King issues.)
But the very best part of my gardening hasn’t moved outside yet, they’re still inside- my thirty heirloom tomato plants that I raised from seed.
For years I have wanted to grow heirloom tomatoes, but the nurseries rarely have many heirloom plants for sale. (Or at least plants I can afford.) I knew, to get the varieties of tomatoes that I wanted I’d need to grow them from seed.
So this year, the husband bought me a grow light and hung it from the top of some shelves, giving me an excellent place to do my dirty work. After five weeks, miraculously there is a plant in every pot and it looks as if my tomato harvest this year will be completely astronomical (although I’m trying not to count my tomatoes before they ripen.)
Everyday I gently run my hand over the tops of the plants. In theory, I do this so their stems will strengthen since they’re living in a house without a natural breeze from outdoors. But in reality, I do it just so I can smell the spicy sharpness of the leaves on my fingers.
There is something so relaxing in that smell. I breathe it in deep and instantly feel better about myself, about my day, about my life.
Can a spirit be healed by an odor? It sounds crazy, but that tomato smell on my hand validates me in some mysterious way I can’t adequately describe or explain. All I know is that it’s my perfume of choice and I highly recommend it.
What do you think, Gentle Reader? Is there any tomato therapy in your future?