My passion is to help others in the community, young, old, and everyone in between, find relevance and joy in learning, performing or listening to classical music.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A life lesson taught by a renegade tomato

After all these deep, analytical posts on Winterreise I thought it would be healthy for everyone involved to have a "now for something completely different" moment.

So first, to kick off this lighthearted post, here is a photo I recently took.

Yep, that's right. It's a tomato that I turned into some sort of bird. In case you didn't already know I was a bit on the bonkers side, this photo confirms it, doesn't it? Actually, I'm quite proud of this photo and more importantly, of the lesson I learned thanks to this gift from our garden. Leave it to me, the woman that can't stop thinking and analyzing, to make a blog post out of a tomato.

Now some background.

Last summer, I was a dedicated tomato farmer, small-scale of course. In spite of my shock at how many tomatoes ten vines can produce, we really did enjoy the experiment. This year, on the other hand, I did virtually nothing. Early in the season I did dutifully prepare our vegetable bed, enriching the soil with compost that had been stewing since that plentiful, bountiful summer of 2009. Well, I never did get around to planting any seeds but lo and behold, we were greeted with a completely overflowing bed of tomato plants within weeks. I pulled about three quarters of them out but decided to see what would happen with the remaining crop. Well, we have lots and lots of tomatoes now and we've been consuming them vigorously for weeks. Not complaining, I'm really not.

Anyway, about a month ago I went down to check on our rebel plants and I discovered a hint of red peeking through the leaves. When I went to pick it, this unique bi-fruit tomato was what I discovered. Since I had just plucked several rotting tomatoes off the same vine, I was intrigued by this particular one. Why wasn't it rotting away too? I think the others had failed, or natural selection had worked its wonders, because the plants were really pretty cramped in a small, confined space - not good tomato parenting. They couldn't deal with the stress, couldn't think of another way out of their bad situation, so they simply got sick and rotted away from the inside out. But this one tomato, my pet tomato, knew better than to succumb to peer pressure. She (I think it's a she) decided to find a way around the problem and decided to grow around the thick stem that was trying to hem her in. This tomato did not give up and in the end what was the reward? A refreshingly healthy, inspiring tomato. What more could a tomato ask for?

I wanted to honor this tomato's ingenuity so I immediately decided that she would not meet the same fate as her more healthy counterparts. With my daughter looking on in complete bewilderment, or embarrassment, I gave a life to our tomato, I gave her a new purpose - to amuse.

And that she did.

So the next time you feel trapped, cramped, or threatened, remember this avian tomato - try something bold, something new, something that might even make you look a little silly. When it comes right down to it, what would you rather do - tow the line and risk rotting away inside or take a risk, get some funny looks, but end up with purpose?

I know which I'd choose.


  1. You are truly nuts!

  2. Oh, I already know that, Linda! I'm just proud that I finally got a formal comment out of you ;-)


  3. very beautiful and creative! ..but making a bold move is easier said than done..

  4. Thank you, Louise, for your comment. You're right, it is easier said than done. That's why I am always looking for situations around me for inspiration, whether it is in nature, among my friends and colleagues, or in literature. Every example helps :-)