I share a garden courtyard with the other tenants in my building. Our landlady grows apples, Meyer lemons, herbs, and tomatoes for all to enjoy. It’s a first-come thing so if you happen to be out there on a day when things are ripe, happy picking.
Last week I was walking by a tomato plant and thought to myself, what if those pale, redish-greenish tomatoes are ripe? What if they are a variety that doesn’t ever get bright red? Popping on one in a mouth I tasted that I was correct.
I didn’t have a way to carry the harvest with me other than to use my shirt as a collection basket. As I piled them atop each other I thought that I was enjoying the bounty in all likelihood because others passed the fruit up as being unripe.
Standing in my kitchen I poured a little pile of flakey salt into a bowl and dunked each tomato in it before eating them. Still beaded with water from being washed the salt clung nicely and crunched as I bit down.
These covertly ripe tomatoes had me approach my summer blues in a new way. I began to be inside my funk as if the entire experience was ripe for the picking. This is the poem that emerged.
We forget that gray clouds are just wet fruit for parched orchards.
We forget that a misplaced book is simply a moment ripe for being found.
And an unripe tomato is ripe to be ready in it’s own time.
All things lead home. All streams lead to the ocean. Everything is ripening.
That argument, the one where you didn’t wear your big girl pants and neither were heard or seen. That is the ripest.
The soft pooling of our abdomen is ripe for welcome.
The days when nothing calls to us are ripe for naps, wandering, and not knowing.
Others before have left word that even the most unjust, light-lacking times are ripe if we choose to pluck the fruit before us.
Everything is ripening.
Everything is ripe.