Our church has a community garden. That, in itself, is a sign of hope. Just looking at it, even though covered in snow, you know that things are happening unseen: the leaves are breaking down to make compost, worms are working their way through the mud, critters of all kinds are beginning to wake in their winter shelters, and seeds of all sorts are working their way through the life cycle. Many of our gardeners are already busy with plans, purchasing seeds, and growing seedlings.
This being New Jersey, everyone in the garden plants tomatoes. There’s nothing like a big, juicy Jersey tomato --we overlook how ugly they are because they taste like heaven, at least in my opinion!
One of our gardeners plants a Campari variety every year. Camparis are small, elegant, beautiful tomatoes, nothing like their Jersey cousins. They take up a substantial amount of real estate, so growing them might seem an odd choice for a small garden plot where you want to maximize space and yield.
However, these tomatoes are special:
the seeds were harvested from tomatoes that belonged to the gardener’s grandfather; seeds gifted to him before he died. Now, not just the love of gardening, but the tomatoes, connect them across time and space.
He is the custodian of this precious gift. So every year he lovingly tends to the Camparis, his grandfather’s sweet legacy, the seeds are more than a memory, they are a gateway of hope.