Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Manna and Tomatoes

     Having a garden is a marvel.  I step out the door, walk twenty steps and palm a ripe red tomato or I wander the rows eating tender green beans like candy as I admire the beauty of all those growing things.  In July, the seeds I planted in May are showing a promise of abundance.  I run to the house, first tomato in hand to share with Joe, and we slice it reverently to eat with just a little salt and pepper.  Or we strip the silk from those early ears of corn and drop them into the pot that’s already boiling and stand over it drooling in anticipation.  
     But in September, my humble garden has morphed into an an overachiever.  It used to offer tomatoes shyly, nestled below green leaves.  Now it dangles them brazenly in the sun.  It hammers me with abundance.   “Come gather beans now!” it screams whenever I step into the yard.  And the flighty corn, so vibrant in its youth, is now pale and whining about the load of ears it carries.   
     We eat tomatoes for breakfast, tomatoes for lunch and tomatoes for supper.  I’m even tempted to hide them in dessert.  I have made and canned tomato juice, whole tomatoes, tomato ketchup, tomato soup, pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce and salsa.  I have gathered, de-silked , shucked and cut five buckets of corn.  I have pulled and dried a bushel of onions.  I have picked, snapped and canned twenty quarts of beans and still the garden throws vegetables at me in reckless abandon.
     I always feel overwhelmed at the end of the growing season.  Longing for the garden to cease and desist.  But then, I notice that there are no more green tomatoes on the vines.  There are no more bean blossoms.  There are no more baby cucumbers.  The corn rustles dryly in the wind. The garden is shutting down.  And, I after longing for such a moment am sad.
     When the Israelites wandered in the dessert, they cried out for food and God gave them manna.  They ate it three times a day for forty years.  I ate tomatoes three times a day for a month and whined about it.  Children in Africa would eat them gladly for as long as they could get them.  I have much to learn about gratitude and abundance.

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