Smooth. Sweet 100s. Perfect little bites. The skin is tight so when you put one in your mouth you have to pop them open to release the sweet, careful to keep your mouth closed so it doesn’t spray everywhere. Sometimes when you pick them, if they are ripe and warm, they’ll split open as they come off the stem.
When Dexter was still here, he loved them so much he tried to pick his own but couldn’t tell if they were ripe and would leave a trail of squished green ones behind him. He was so happy when I would grab a container and say, “let’s go pick some tomatoes” because he knew he’d get some, and every one of them would be ripe. This is a picture of him his last summer, when we put in a tomato plant just for him. I told him he could have all the tomatoes off that plant all to himself, even though I knew he’d probably be gone before it got fruit, before they were ready to eat — and he was. Letting him go, missing him has been anything but smooth.
Notebook. As a writer, I’ve got a lot of these. I always have one in my purse, just in case I have an idea or need to make a note or have some extra time to write. I have three or four on my writing desk that I’m actively using — one is for my morning pages (my daily practice), one for my business (ideas for ecourses, workshops, and such), one for Feast (which is officially over, but some of us are going to do a virtual book club with Brene’ Brown’s new book so I’ll use the remaining space for that), and another for quotes and collages. In my closet, I have bookshelves full of notebooks, most of them already full of writing but a few that are blank. There’s at least three or four books already written on those shelves, in those pages.
I’m pretty fussy about the style of notebook I use. It has to be comfortable, the pages open flat without much of a ridge in the center of the book. I like lined pages, but no matter how the margins are set up, I’ll write edge to edge, filling the entire page. When I start anything new, I always date it. That helps when I am looking for something that happened on a particular date, something I want to check and see what I wrote about it as it was happening. It’s hard for me to go into a store that sells notebooks and not buy at least one, knowing I can never have too many because I’m always filling them up.
Number. I’m not sure how many it would take, how many I’d have to eat for it to feel like enough — strawberries, peaches, tomatoes, cucumbers. I stuff myself with as much sweetness as I can while they are here. Harvest season is so bittersweet, with such bounty, but only for a limited time. It’s another reminder that nothing lasts, that everything is always changing, but also that if the earth is still here, if we are still here, things will cycle back around again. The sun will rise tomorrow, the summer will come again next year.
Skin. I have thin skin. I don’t have the same sort of barrier between myself and the world that a lot of other people do. I’m porous. I startle easily. I have a tender heart. Part of it is that I’m a highly sensitive person (HSP). The information I get from my five senses is intense and my nervous system is often overwhelmed. It’s hard for me to maintain my awareness of being separate from other people and the world because I’m so open to all of it, like living in a house where the front door and all the windows are always open, where there are no walls. I am deeply affected by other people’s emotions, by the energy of a space, even by the weather. Add to that being an introvert (or maybe that’s why I’m an introvert?) and I have to spend a lot of time by myself, quiet and still and alone, just to be able to process everything, to settle down, to find myself again.
Air. Space and breath. I find these things in my practice: yoga, meditation, writing, and dog. When I practice, I slow down, pause, relax into myself and the moment. I am still, simply making space and breathing, allowing whatever might arise. Through practice, I am nourished and can move into my life off the mat, off the cushion, off the page, and off the leash with more ease, more compassion, more confidence, and more courage. It’s as essential as air.