This spring we welcomed a new hoop house built by Rex Miller and Jim Sheehan. Tomatoes and cucumbers were the first crops planted in the hoop house. They have liked the heat in the hoop house, and we have liked the early bumper crop of these hot weather vegetables. As I visited with the tomatoes and cucumbers this morning, I remembered the lesson tomatoes gave us in 1993.
As you may recall from my last blog, 1993 was the season when the gardens were opened to visitors and we needed continuous guidance in order to handle the unexpected arrival of thousands of precious guests. I thought you might like the story of the season’s tomatoes and the guidance we received about them. It was one of of the most visceral experiences any of us had ever had in a garden.
Because we were planting over a dozen gardens each with complex mandalas of plants, we needed to grow thousands of plants. While we could start most seeds in the farm’s tiny greenhouse, all the young plants needed new homes after they were transplanted into bigger pots. In the end, we had our young plants growing all over the Upper Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont…..basically wherever we could beg or borrow greenhouse space.
The tomatoes volunteered to go to a solarium at Kimball Union Academy. This space appeared to be sunny enough in March when we put the tomato seedlings there, but as the trees around the solarium began to get their leaves, the space became much too shady for the tomatoes. In the hubbub of watering plants all over the valley, none of us noticed exactly how badly the tomato plants were doing.
When we went to get the tomato plants to put them in the cold frames at the farm to harden them off before planting, they were whispy four foot long plants. Each was limp, almost branchless and a very peculiar almost white green. They looked more like lifeless threads than actual plants. We were horrified. None of us had ever seen such unhealthy tomatoes. Here was what the God within had to say about that:
Let us consider the nature of tomatoes. They have a very robust energy. They bring vitality and pizazz to many dishes and most situations. It is no accident that women have been referred to, even if in a derogatory way, as tomatoes. The heart of tomatoes is a very strong life force and a ripe, visceral connection with the earth. As a Flower Essence it is a cleansing Essence because it offers to blast the weak places in a system with its robust energy, almost hosing out what is not strong in favor of its own vital energy. This is the nature of tomatoes.
What was happening to your tomatoes during their sojourn to the solarium? Tomatoes have this energy because they are connected to me. They are free to express themselves because I provide the life force energy for them to be their true selves. These tomatoes were temporarily cut off from an appropriate connection with me. They did not get the light of the sun, my way to bring them my energy. They did not get the breeze, my way of continually whispering to them my love and guidance. They were sealed off from a complete connection with me. They would have died had they been sealed off entirely, but there was enough of a break in the flow to reveal to you what happens with my creations when they are unable to work with me moment to moment. All of this was a metaphor for you.
When you asked for volunteer plants to go to the solarium, the tomatoes went in service to you, knowing that it would be a lesson in what happens when I am not with you every moment, when your ego illusions wrap around you and create separation. You are like those tomatoes in the solarium. You are like the tomatoes returning to the light of a greenhouse. You have all been cut off from everything I can give you. You have received enough to live but not enough to be your true whole vibrant selves. I call you to let the example of the tomatoes motivate you to open to a full connection with me, your source. You are a planet of tomatoes in a dark airless solarium. The way out is there, and together we can find the vibrant wholeness which is your birthright and your destiny, but only together.
This experience with our tomatoes shook us deeply. First there was our regret about how we had neglected these plants. Then there was the moment of truth when we learned we were like these tomatoes. It was shocking to look at these sickly plants and take this truth to heart. The experience motivated me to try much harder to stay connected moment to moment to God.
A week or two later, we planted these strange creatures in the gardens by laying flat the entire four foot branch on the dirt then covering the whole plant with soil with only the last tiny bit of sickly leaves above ground. We had no idea if we would have a single tomato to offer at our vegetable stand. We tenderly nursed these sad plants, wondering if our ministrations would be enough. In the precious sun, they found vigorous health and beauty. We were astounded. The tomatoes’ recovery was a constant reminder we too could find this life giving connection to source. The tale of the tomatoes became one of the stories we shared with visitors.