There is a rogue tomato in my garden this year. I did not purposefully plant this tomato; it just showed up one day. This does not really surprise me….I am learning to expect the unexpected when it comes to gardening, children, and hair color from a box.
What does surprise me is that this lucky tomato has not been trampled by dogs, plucked by kids, or mistaken for a weed by my husband. The fact that it is surviving and even thriving in my clay-packed Southern soil is the true miracle here.
I am so grateful though that this tomato showed up when it did. It has been a very long summer at home with my beautiful brood of human and non-human dependents. So discovering this gift one day and realizing its source provided me with hope. Hope for getting through the summer and beyond. You see, this unlikely gift, as small as it may be, sprouted from a steaming pile of shit. Literally. Worm shit to be exact.
Long story short: I have worms. They’ve been living in a box under my deck for almost ten years, through good times and bad. They are the easiest, least demanding pets I’ve ever known. I toss them some kitchen scraps once in a while and in return they poop out a glorious cornucopia of organic goodness. Affectionately known in the trade as “Black Gold,” it is THE mack daddy of natural fertilizers. It is cheap and green, and you know it must be easy if I’ve been able to sustain it for nearly a decade.
So back to the tomato. Sometimes, you get a few undigested seeds in the vermicompost (a.k.a The Shit). And sometimes, if the conditions are just right, and you’re lucky, one of those seeds might actually grow into a pleasant little surprise such as my accidental tomato. Of course, it helps if you are paying attention and actually notice the surprise gift when it arrives, but that is true of anything. Like the phoenix rises from the ashes, in my yard, a beautiful tomato has arisen from The Shit.
And speaking of The Shit, I have a fabulous new friend, Laura. She is another accidental tomato in my life. A few weeks ago she was little more than an acquaintance. But then one day, she sent out an email to a group of people about her new blog (huh? what’s a blog?). And by some lucky happenstance, I was one of those people, AND I didn’t delete the email or lose it to my spam filter. But luckier yet, I actually read this email, went to the aforementioned blog, and discovered that we were probably cut from the same cloth.
If you knew me, you’d know that this alone is a lot of steps for me. But wait, there’s more. I then reached out of my too-much-summer-with-the-kids-stupor, and actually replied to her email about how much I enjoyed her blog (unbelievably without frightening her), and an Internet-based friendship was born. Three weeks, hundreds of emails and Facebook exchanges, four margaritas (on the rocks, with salt please), and one life-changing book exchange later, I have me a new BFF. And so today, life is pretty good. Three weeks ago, not so much. But sometimes when you least expect it, even when it feels like you are surrounded by nothing but shit, a random seed can sprout and turn into a wondrous gift. You just have to be paying attention.