The first cherry tomatoes are ready for plucking, eating, admiring and so I pluck, I eat, I admire. There is one tomato that remains in the admiring phase, rests on the kitchen windowsill. I look at it multiple times a day while standing at the sink to wash dishes or hands. I don’t know what it is about this tomato, will eat it eventually, do not want it to spoil or go to waste, but something about this tomato gives me pause. I gaze at it as if it were a sculpture on display in a museum (my kitchen a museum, I like that), tiny red tomato on white windowsill, smudged window pane, still life. It is not perfectly shaped but it is perfectly red, a little tomato that I have not eaten, yet. If there is some metaphor, it escapes me for now.
I clip one zinnia to bring inside, pink. I could make a large bouquet but my heart is asking for just one. I put the zinnia in an old spice jar, add water, place it on my desk. Over the course of several days, its color drains slightly, the edges of its petals begin to dry and curl, still, it is lovely. In the mornings, for a few minutes, the rising sun filters through the side window and touches its petals. I pause my writing-emailing-reading, I gaze. I find myself, again, in life’s museum, this time my desk, sunlight, a single zinnia, a glass spice jar filled with water, still life, some commentary on beauty.
Summer is not over but draws to a close, change is upon me, us. New classes, new teams, new schedules, new jobs, new light pools, new weather patterns, new displays in the museum of home and life. I want to be a thoughtful museum-goer, want to take my time, want to savor what is on display. What is begging to be gazed at, to be seen more deeply? What wishes to be examined, understood? What is illuminated, what is hiding? What is my experience, now? Am I stepping into beauty and pain, both? Is there metaphor, is there commentary, is there (true) living?
Happiness, not in another place but in this place…
not for another hour, but for this hour.
~ Walt Whitman ~