This weekend felt like summer. With heat and humidity that rivaled a July weekend one might think that we had half a summer left to frolic in the sunshine. But the calendar, (and the Old Farmers Almanac) tells us that changes are in store. So while it was enjoyable being outside we found ourselves doing things that reminded us that seasonal changes are near. It was also a time to reflect on the passage of not just a season, but also on the continuing passage of life, and all the hope that it brings.
We picked the remaining tomatoes that my dad grew this summer in the garden. It was more than just harvesting vegetables. Or are they actually a fruit? I guess a fruit. The last of the tomatoes were another sign of a growing season, just like life, that has a finite time to grow and enjoy the sunshine. While a few plant leaves had been touched by a hard frost a couple weeks ago, the red tomatoes were calling to be taken home. Meanwhile the unripened ones will make perfect fried green tomatoes. My dad does not like red tomatoes, but grows amazing plants each year with produce that weigh down the bucket when picked. Had things been different back home the red ones on the ground would have been lunchtime soup many days ago.
There is something about a tomato grown in the dirt, and ripened on the vine that produces a taste like none other. The store bought tomatoes should be avoided at all times, as they are flavorless and resemble stones. My mom loved tomatoes, but with the changes in our family it is doubtful that lush tomato vines will again be grown in that garden. On Saturday afternoon James and I picked the tomatoes with a sentimental acceptance of the way life moves and changes everything. Late Saturday night after we had returned home to Madison I sliced one up with an old paring knife that my mom had given me, and ate it with some salt. They will be the last I eat from that garden. But she would agree that nothing could compete with a real homegrown tomato.
After the time in the garden we made new memories with the extended family as we all gathered around a huge pile of brush and grass clippings from a year of cutting and trimming. It was one of those bonfires that ignite excitement in kids of every age. There was just enough really dry material to make a robust and extremely hot start to the fire that was thrilling to watch. Even when the fire started to dim from lack of enough flammable fuel, there was no lack of laughter and memory making as some “kids” tried to stoke it with sticks and gardening utensils. As the embers still glowed everyone moved inside for homemade soups and conversation. I had the giggles later that those embers might have become the ‘Mrs. O’Leary Cow” of Waushara County!
If we continue to live we are bound to say goodbye to the seasons of life. If we are smart in how we live we will always have a new season to rejoice in.
Not a bad way to think about the start of fall 2007.