Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" to the Tuesday Slice of Life
sponsored by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers.
Yesterday I spent a few moments with my one tomato plant of the summer. A few summers ago I planted my first container plant tomatoes along the edge of our driveway. Last year, a son's wedding (a few days after school was out) prevented me from procurring any tomato plants. I was convinced that there were no tomato plants left anywhere, but a dear friend called around town and lovingly gifted me with two tomato plants, probably the last two left in Seattle and yes, I planted them in July, thinking all the while, I'll never have tomatoes this year. Although my harvest came late, I enjoyed tomatoes in September!
In a session at the All Write conference in June, Penny Kittle shared Sarah Kay's spoken word poem "Montauk"
with us. The technology failed (just like real life in my classroom), so she read us the poem. She encouraged us to find a line, a phrase, a place that triggers something inside of you that wants expression. "... her eyes as big as summer tomatoes..." was the trigger phrase for me.
Here's my quick write from my writer's notebook at All Write:
I am ten years old. We drive for miles in the white '59 Chevy so that Daddy can buy tomato plants from his favorite organic gardener. We return home with crates of tiny plants. He plows the rows of already prepared soil with the hand tiller. I stand beside him as he digs each hole, we add fertilizer, and then tenderly empty each plant from its green plastic holder, drop it into the hole, and pat the soil back around each plant. When we finish the first row, we drag the green water hose over to splash water on each newly planted tomato plant. We dream of July and summer tomatoes.
This next quick write was composed today for this Slice of Life:
I am fifty-plus years old. I finished my grades the day before leaving for the All Write conference in Indiana. I returned home to two days of CCSS work with my grade level colleagues. I sprint through one and one half days of chores and piles, swatting at whatever task screams the loudest. We're headed to Portland for a much desired weekend with my daughter and a longed for leisurely trip to Powell's Bookstore. My son-in-law arrives at the designated time, ready to leave. I'm embarrassed that I'm not ready. My own children are quite familiar with my before-trip frenzied state, but my son-in-law isn't. I quickly finish packing, throw my things in the car, and then drag out the plastic bag of Miracle Grow, the empty container, and my tomato plant. We quickly empty the bag, dig a deep hole for the plant, shake it out of its green plastic holder, drop it into the hole, and then pat the soil around the plant. I retrieve the wire cage from the garage and we place it over the plant. I fill the blue plastic bucket with water several times and splash water on my one tomato plant of the summer. As we pull out of the driveway, I dream of August and summer tomatoes.
I check on my tomato plant daily. I talk to my tomato plant. I love watching the yellow blooms turn into tiny orbs of green. I walk away from this morning time with my tomato plant, rub my hands together, breathe in the smell, and I'm ten years old again!
And this week, the first blush of summer arrived.