Lying forlornly in the dirt, like a yellowing tomb slit open, is the remains of an early season tomato from my garden that didn’t quite make it to the plate.
Sydney’s unseasonally damp summer has meant the vigorous tomato plant this specimen came from is long gone, afflicted by various diseases and my lack of care on occasions when life got too busy.
This shell-of-a-tomato was most likely not picked and taken inside for human consumption because it was marked or damaged or being eaten by a worm… In other words, it was rejected.
I know a Man who takes rejection, accusation and being cast aside and turns them into new life. He did it with his own life, saying, ‘unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone’.
February is late for growing tomatoes but no one mentioned this to my cast-aside tomato and without any assistance from myself, a veritable forest of tomato seedlings have emerged from their yellowing tomb.
With Sydney’s weather finally providing some sunshine and still plenty of rain, the young seedlings are thriving.
It’s not easy growing vegetables in an inner city town house. Pots are used, mainly, and these have to be carefully positioned to find sun and escape birds and the occasional visiting rat. (And Leroy our dog is known to occasionally pluck a tomato or strawberry for his own illegal consumption…)
It also means carrying pots and soil and shovels through the house to get to one courtyard or another, making an exercise such as repotting tomatoes a logistical challenge.
During the process I carried one of my new self-sown seedlings to another courtyard and realised I was carrying life in the palm of my hand. I also realised it was one of those ‘stock-photo-moments-of-hand-with-seedling-depicting-new-life’.
There is something about gardening that is renewing. Or perhaps the renewing comes first and then the energy to garden emerges. A bit of both I think.
As the cricket starts, and the sun bites, I’ve finished my little project and that pale shell of a tomato womb has birthed an array of seedlings, some already flowering, ready to greet the final month or so of summer warmth in Sydney.
There is not a soul among us who has not had at least a moment of being cast aside, left for dead, and lying in the dirt alone.
There is a God who showed himself as one of us, who placed pictures of death and resurrection among us as reminders and who died an earthly death so he could share a heavenly life with many, many sons and daughters.
No doubt he is enjoying my tomatoey resurgence and if even one of these offspring is as productive as the original (bought from a stall at Leichhardt Public School fete), then we will enjoy a feast of home-grown tomatoes as the seasons approach change.