I bought four tomato plants in June, and they are now full of tomatoes. Still green and firm but starting to display a hint of red yellow skin that teases me with the promise there will soon be a meaty red Better Boy on my dinner plate.
Neither Chris nor I have been very successful at growing tomatoes in our back yard. Our neighborhood was once a tobacco field and the soil has been exhausted by years of farming and not very hospitable to tomatoes.
Last spring we decided to place tiny tomato plants in containers filled with rich velvety soil, a good choice we both agreed. These tomatoes, along with our blueberry bushes, are the occasional victims of blackbirds that eat the berries and peck into the flesh of the tomatoes.
To “protect” my fledgling garden, I placed a large ceramic white rabbit I made a few years ago right in the middle of the garden. She is my talisman, but she is also my wounded girl. When I was moving out of my old house, part of the rabbit girl’s ear broke off. I stumbled while carrying the box that she was in, and my rabbit tumbled onto the concrete floor of my front porch. Just a few chips off her ear. I figured her wound was a battle scar for having survived and that she was lucky she didn’t bust more than just her ear.
Rabbits are a part stories, and when it comes to stories about rabbits, I think about Eostre, a Celtic goddess associated with the moon and with mythic narratives of death, redemption, and resurrection. Eostre is what our culture refers to as the Easter Bunny, but to me, she embodies what it means to preserver through darkness and the struggle to come out the other end…. into the light.
Sometimes after work, when the day has cooled off, I grab a glass of wine, and I walk out on to my back deck and admire my thriving tomatoes. I see my rabbit girl kneeling on her knees keeping watch over the garden.
She’s a good guardian.