Trust The Symbol [on Not So Flawed Wednesday]

“Perseverance, secret of all triumphs.” ~ Victor Hugo

It is nearly November and the tomato plants are still producing. I’ve come to think of our tomato proliferation as a dance between Kerri and the plants. Each morning, all summer long, with the good advice of 20, she tended the tomatoes. And, the tomatoes tended her. They continue to inspire quiet in her. I’ve watch the gentle morning dance from the window, DogDog circling the yard, Kerri with the watering can, pinching leaves, securing supports, or simply admiring yet another green orb that appeared overnight.

There was also the basil, mint, and lavender. After the tomatoes were nurtured, they joined the dance. Presence.

You know things are not going well when your friends start comparing you to Job. I’m not a bible guy but even I was keen to the reference. We’ve had a few years of rolling bad luck and molehills turned into mountains. 20 is fond of saying, “Karma is a long game,” and there were days that I asked Kerri what she did in a past life to deserve the most recent disaster. After punching my arm, we’d chant in unison, ‘One day at a time.” Take this step. Enjoy this day. The circumstance doe not define us. And, mostly, we lived it, staying in the center of the hurricane.

And, then, about the middle of May, the winds changed. It was palpable. Somethings actually began to tip in our favor. And, for reasons I cannot explain, we needed to grow tomatoes. Kerri needed to grow tomatoes. Last summer we made an anemic attempt at growing lettuce. We ate a salad or two from our mini-farm, but it was more of an exercise, something to do, rather than a symbol of the arrival of better times. The tomatoes came as harbingers, heralds of a new era.

To say that they’ve been prolific is an understatement. All summer long, lines of tiny red miracles sat on our table, ripening. The plants have withstood pounding rain, excessive heat, and withering humidity. Not only have they withstood it, they’ve prospered in it. It’s a hopeful symbol. Somewhere deep down inside, we hope to follow their lead. After a few years of the-other-shoe-always-dropping, we’re slow to trust our symbol. But, like our symbol, we’re taking our time, not getting ahead of ourselves, and will harvest our good fruit when the time is right.

Until then, we persevere, one day at a time, grateful for the portent our good tomatoes bring.

read Kerri’s blog post about TOMATOES

Invite The Humor [on Two Artists Tuesday]

The sun at last. We pulled on our snow boots and walked the neighborhood, arriving at a place sacred to us, the Southport Beachhouse. It’s the site of our wedding reception and candlelight anniversary dinners on the beach.

Kerri packed a snow ball and another and another. She made a tiny snowman. We scrounged the snow for sticks, small cones for eyes. “He’s so cute!” she said. And then, “Do you think he knows the world is off its axis?”

“No.”

“Lucky snowman!” she sighed.

Horatio had me laughing during our call. He told me that the story of Job was meant to be a comedy and, in his telling, it was hysterically funny. He has me convinced. Grim circumstance is fodder for good humor. It’s why the classic slip-on-the-banana-peel is so funny. I told him that Kerri and I are waiting for the whale to burp. Despite what it seems, our time in the belly of the whale is temporary. Sooner or later, every good comedy comes to a happy ending.

The trick, I suppose, is to recognize that you are living in a comedy and it is better to laugh than shake your fist at the sky.

Sand paintings, like snowmen, are temporary. They are meant to invoke healing. They are meant to provide protection. “Do you think he’ll be here tomorrow?” Kerri asked as we walked away.

“No. He’ll enjoy his day in the sun and that will be it,” I said. She looked at me sideways.

Impermanence. A day in the sun. A snowman made for fun and not forever. In making it, we found an ounce of perspective, some tiny snowman healing.

read Kerri’s blog post about THE SNOWMAN