Calico and Tomatoes

Sunshine-inebriated, we Northwesterians shun autumn jackets this week and gawk, friendly, passing in the street. Alas, it will soon end.

I tried to snap interesting pictures this summer. My efforts whispered loudly the benefits of cameras with zoom and quality lenses, plus the value of photography lessons. Maybe someday for me.

I did capture calico Lucky, our aging royal, reposing near Tim’s wood shelter. At sixteen, Lucky retains composure, still washes human fingers before allowing them passage over soft-as-rabbit fur and responds only to the highest-pitched tones when I’m practicing my flute. During such musical moments she winds past my ankles, mrrowwing either pleasure or pain, then butting my leg with her head until I pause or play lower notes so she can leave.

Lucky yowls siren-decibels at odd moments every night and day. Tim’s workshop/our guestroom over the garage has become Lucky’s afterhours prison, so we can sleep.

A tomato plant voluntarily grew in what’s become Lucky’s outhouse. Last summer my plants were nursery-bought from our friends Tom and Denise up the McKenzie. Around mid-summer I realized the place I’d set the thriving plants, out in dirt below a kitchen window, was also Lucky’s potty of choice for the season. Oh, well, good fertilizer, I reasoned, and it was, but still. I didn’t buy tomato plants this year--I’m the only one in the house who’ll eat the fruit, anyway--but a plant, well-fertilized, started showing itself below the window in July. Today I’m eating the one red globe I’ll receive from it before true Northwest autumn sets in. I picked it green, while the plant’s stemmings still stood tall above kitty poo.

My tomato-lust was sated Sunday, however, thanks to Carol, who reads my blog (thanks for that kindness, also), and who knows the tomato way of proliferation sans Lucky. She invited my free picking in the afternoon, even though she and Curt wouldn’t be home, saying, “Take all you want.”

I did, but it was the moment I relished, maybe more than its produce. Later, I’d savor tender-crisp tomato flesh bite-broken, gushing acrid-sweet juice and seeds over grateful tongue. Near Carol’s driveway, though, I paused in the quiet of a golden late afternoon. Warmth tethered anxious shards of me to solid ground, where nourishment surged from soil, abounding.