Monday, August 16, 2010

Tomatoes and Tares

The garden is on its last leg of productivity. My friend Stewart's zealous labor and my mattock-swinging and baffled miracle-watching are come near to the close of this season, and you can tell. The onions and potatoes have been upturned and eaten, the garlic pulled and minced. The lettuce has bolted but doggedly droops in the heat; the cilantro has gone to seed. A lonely zucchini keeps flowering like a bride in bloom but can't find a mate for the bees - at least, I suppose that's how zucchini works.

And the tomatoes. They are still producing, towering over their ropes like punch drunk boxers in the ecstasy of fruit-bearing. Lemon Boys and Stripeys and beefsteaks flash like fecund jewels in the grinning sun, but my task is to collect them, to nab the bounty before the rabbits come. Amongst all this, the weeds encroach, a multitude of blades around the ankles of the cultivars. Johnson grass lofts its banners to claim its native ground. Tickweed and fescue crowd the okra like a mob. Still I harvest.

"And that is you," said the Shepherd. "Tomatoes and tares."
"As I recall," I rejoined, "the wheat and the weeds were different folks altogether."
"That's right," he said. "But this is you. Filled to overflowing with weeds, and still there are fantastic tomatoes and little pods of okra. And the carrots and popcorn haven't even come in yet.

And it shall be weeded."


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