Of the five different tomato seed varieties put out
to germinate, the first
to arise were from seeds collected by the one who lives too far
away. These tomato seeds have the names "Mystery Tomato"
and "Not Cherry".
Last year Not
Cherry was a beautifully shaped tomato with a good flavor
and a skin that peeled with just a blush of scalding water. This
year Not Cherry seeds have leapt from peat-pods and are
anxious. The "mystery tomato" is clearly competitive,
because it too is ready for fresh air and full sun.
The other tomato seeds all needed coaxing by the stove, except for one
Brandy Wine seed, from a Ferry Morse factory, which appears very
determined to make a home in my imagination.
I am quite certain there are germinating characteristics
peculiar to this or that variety of tomato, and within a variety. I am sure there are men in
white coats hurrying to the patent office, in that ruthless way some chase
their dreams. But here where I live,
vegetables become anthropomorphic quickly. Their fruit or their leaves
are gifts of character, rather than a calculation.
With meat, the relationship has a different quality,
best summarized by the occasional blush I experience at the sight of a new
calf galloping in a green field.
And here, I am too old and I have traveled too far,
for someone to tell me I am sentimental or weak.