Tomatoes

I didn’t know the purpose of this blog until this afternoon. I started the blog with a vague idea that I would occasionally poste stuff on it, but “place to occasionally poste stuff” didn’t seem like a very good purpose. So I set out to find a new purpose. I began my search by putting it off and hoping the answer would come to me out of the blue. Surprisingly, my method worked. The purpose came to me while I was contentedly planting tomatoes in my greenhouse.
Tomatoes are a miracle. When I was very little I attempted to grow them, but Africa’s dry dirt is best at producing wild weeds and wide, strong trees. So I learned to play in the roots in the trees.
When we moved to India tomatoes were still an allusive dream. The city smog choked leaves with a thick layer of dust. So I learned to delight in arranging jasmine and hibiscuses, the plants that did grow.
Two years ago we moved to England. At first I felt like the greenery was drowning me. But then I learned that tomatoes grow in England. And I learned to love England for its fields and flowers and dandelions and tomatoes.
Tomatoes really do have something to do with blogging, I promise.
While thinking about my tomatoes I realized that there was something beautiful in those seeds. I also realized that that is exactly what I want this blog to be about. I want it to be about the beauty in everyday things, beauty in different countries, in different people. I want it to be place where I write down my musings and you tell me if they’re terrible. And now that I have a purpose, I might actually start writing.

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22 (Not So Simple) Rules For Writing

1) Take a deep breath. Fortify yourself with your poison of choice. Write first draft.
2) Read over first draft carefully.
3) Throw it away.
4) Write second draft.
5) Read over carefully.
6) Throw it away.
7) Cry and despair of every writing anything again.
8)Write third draft.
9) Throw it away.
10) Write fourth draft.
11) Forget about it for a year.
12) Stumble upon it by accident.
13) Re-write every sentence.
14) Repeat.
15) Edit.
16) Send it to someone else for their criticism.
17) Throw it away.
18) Write fifth draft.
19) Re-write every word.
20) Edit
21) Say it’s finished.
22) Repeat process.

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Hope

Hope is the thing with feathers
Standing solid in the wind.
Hope is the act of holding on
When tide and tempest roar—
To keep on holding till the day
The need is there no more.
Hope is the seed when planted firm
Will slowly take strong hold—
And keeps one standing through the storms
Of tide and tempest bold.
Hope flutters gently in the box
The greatest one of all—
Release it to the world and watch
As kings and kingdoms fall.

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Fear

Into a deep dark place I wander

And look ‘round in despair—

My path is lost within the shadows

I do not see it there.

I strain my eyes far to the distance—

Where shadow meets the dark

And stumble over stones before me

Till I miss the mark.

I do not know now where to look—

Save towards the saving light

Oh help me now to tear my eyes

From finding fear’s dark light.

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Through Walls of Stone

The ashes of a city

Fall

Broken rain

On one lone man

Who stands

Alone

Bare feet

In silence ringing with screaming echoes.

And there among

Nameless streets

Dead homes

A sea of rubble

He searches

For any clue of what was once.

There is an empty horror

In twig trees

Like skeletal hands

Above nothing

Where once

Children played.

He knows

The vendors sold their wares

The old ladies gossiped

The homes thrived

Gone.

Dreams.

Gone.

But there

In ruins

Stands a broken wall.

He looks

As the sun rises

And shafts of light cut through.

Glimpses of sunlight

Through walls

Of stone,

There are glimpses of

Glorious sunlight

Through walls of broken stone.

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Adventure

We peered breathlessly out of the car windows. The wood flew by. I watched as she had taught me, scanning for any movement, any sign of life in the burnt orange and brown of the forest. But Aunt Judy’s much more experienced eyes saw him first. “There!” she cried, and Aunt Cathy veered the car off the road. We were parked 10 feet from a bear.

In about ten seconds Aunt Judy was one foot closer to the bear, catching his foraging on her camera. In about five seconds more a bear jam had built up behind our car and a tinny crowd had gathered a few feet behind Aunt Judy. One lady had her flash on—bad mistake.  It wasn’t long before the bear decided she had flashed one too many times. He turned and charged at the nearest victim—Aunt Judy.

There’s a blurry picture on Aunt Judy’s camera. It is a memorial to the fastest retreat I have ever seen executed. The bear, once satisfied that he had run us humans off his land, wasn’t long in completely forgetting the incident. We, on the other hand, have not stopped laughing.

I laugh as I retell the story to my friends. It was an adventure, and I love adventures. That is the most important lesson Aunt Judy has taught me—how to love adventure. Life is an adventure. If you don’t learn to love adventure, you won’t learn to love life.

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