It’s been stunningly beautiful for as long as my short memory permits. Bright cerulean blue skies every morning, a rustling fall breeze working its way through the evergreens and shaking the leaves off the deciduous trees. I have finally plateaued in my tomato harvest and I’m about to harvest my first jalapenos- and it’s October 5th. Granted they’re all happily snug in a makeshift greenhouse but there are still tomatoes and peppers -- in fact so many I am quietly wishing the bunnies would find them. I’ve made pints on end of sauce, crushed tomatoes, ketchup, passata, dried tomatoes, and frozen cherry tomatoes. I wait for these beauties all year long -- rarely do I enjoy one out of season because they are so uniformly terrible. When they come we enjoy them lustily and gorge for weeks -- and then, suddenly, I’ve had enough. No more tomatoes. We go on hiatus for months, until sometime in the early dark of winter, a can of garden crushed tomatoes is pureed into a creamy tomato soup, into which we’ll plunge sourdough and Irish cheddar grilled sandwiches. It is then that I’ll start the long climb to spring, and long for next year’s far away harvest. It’s not just tomatoes, but so many things for me, that I long for and lust after, plunge in headlong, give myself a good soak, and then I’m done. Done until something piques my memory, whets my appetite, and the wheels start turning again, slowly at first, and then furiously until it’s all I can think about. Balance. I think of something a senior woman I respect once said in reference to work-life balance: there is no balance, there is simply a pendulum that swings -- sometimes it’s concentrated on work, and sometimes it’s concentrated on life and family. I resented her for saying it. It became just another reason on top of many to leave the industry. But I've come to think she was right.
I've been thinking a lot lately about that swinging pendulum. Boom or bust. Attempting to balance on my head in the middle of the field, I’m after perspective, hoping to even the world and my body out with yoga. I’m not calm, I’m panting, focused, and totally absorbed with the feel of my head and forearms on the ground, each centimeter pushing and pulling. Then, I fall. Breathe in. Exhale. When I rise again the world looks different, if even for a moment, it looks and feels different. It feels amazing.
I am a creature of the swinging pendulum, much to my surprise. The extremes are what make the other side worth looking at. The fertile garden lush with edibles -- it is so inspiring because we’ve seen the barren land. For those of us who watched it grow, it’s magnificent. Remember the see saw? Up, up, up, and you’re so high, and then WHOOSH you’re floating down, excited to go up once again. Where’s the fun in balancing? The fun is the rise and fall. This is what’s so hard to remember when you’re falling, when the seasons wind down, when growth grinds to a halt, or seems to.
This is what’s so hard to remember when you’re staring at a negative pregnancy test - again. Or a lost promotion - again. Or a job you hate. Or anything you want badly that isn’t happening now. But this see saw? It only gets faster and higher, and lower and deeper. I wonder if the art lies in hanging on-- and riding to new highs. So go ahead and smile, laugh with juice dripping down your chin and greedily eat those in season tomatoes. They’ll be back. And so will we. Back on top, sometime.
Scrambled Farm Eggs with Tomatoes and Peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 of a medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 of a jalapeño, minced
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 fresh eggs
salt and pepper to taste
warmed corn tortilla and a dollop of greek yogurt for serving
Warm olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and peppers and cook until onions start to soften. Add tomatoes and cook just until the juice starts flowing. Beat eggs gently and add to pan, fluffing with a fork occasionally until done. Season with salt and pepper to taste.