Finding Balance in the Garden

photoSharing an older post.

Growing Children

She wore a man’ s castoff button down shirt, white with long sleeves to shield her from the sun, from the green sap that oozed from the wounds created when she snapped suckers emerging between stems and leafy branches. She was ten years old, working whole hot blazing days in the tomato ffelds,working too hard, too long, losing too much of her childhood to the flat Illinois fields of her uncle’s farm. She was one of thousands of children who knew such labor In the Great Depression, children who have etched indelible images in our cultural memory.

I think of my mother’s stories about growing up as a farmer’s daughter’s whenever I sucker tomatoes. I envision the welts that  came up on her arms in spite of the long sleeves, a common reaction to the solanoid in the chartreuse sap. But I also remember my mother’s stories about happy days…

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