We’re Still Standing ~ Tomatoes and Me

It’s been a stormy August. I’ve been pushed to the brink of my sanity; out of my mind with the ever-building heat raging round me, totally beyond my control.
This past Wednesday I could take it no more; needs must, when the devil drives.

I took a stand, said “enough, I don’t deserve to melt like
the Wicked Witch of the West”!!

And I wore my casual clothes to work.

Then Friday night was so stormy I feared the garden might be lost. A tornado watch was posted — a rarity for this part of the world. When I left work I could see a wall of dark clouds building to the west; once on the road I felt the wind rocking the car with joyful, reckless abandon.

Upon reaching home, one of the tomatoes on the deck had already toppled over in the gusts.

“Be Prepared”!! my old Girl Scout motto shouted, half in a panic from the depths of my brain, above the rising winds.

So half in a panic, I went to work picking every ripe pepper and brinjal — to save them of course — just in case, mind you.

Half in a panic, I set about making sure every container was full of water — well weighted down — and tightly tied to deck and stakes. After all, the little garden had already survived the New England monsoon of June, and the late-blight tomato scourge! I couldn’t walk away, desert it, and watch it be beaten to the ground just because this storm promised to be a bit rougher.

Once the garden was secured, I took a deep breath. A strange sense of calm came over me then; the calm that arrives once panic has passed. All at once, my heart and mind cleared as if a fog had lifted — and I was reminded of the larger lesson: you can’t be prepared for everything life throws at you. Faced with a problem, there is a choice: ignore it and let it consume you (and your garden) or address and resolve it.

I thought to myself, “I’ve done everything in my power. The rest is not up to me”.

Happily, the battering winds and rain passed (as they usually do), and the
garden survived. Oh, a few tomatoes blew off the vines before they were properly ripened, but with a little time and patience, they will ripen all the same — a testament to their hearty constitution.

It’s easy to think clearly once the panic has passed.
Sometimes I baby the garden a wee bit too much 😉

banana and serrano peppers in safe harbor

I’ve been thinking — about life, love, and the pursuit of gardening, self-reliance, and happiness — all of which require courage in the face of adversity — courage to stand up and say, I am no longer afraid. Let the hurricane roar!

I will survive.

Here I am setting down, in no particular order, an eclectic mix of some favorite quotes — words of wisdom that bring me peace when my heart and brain are in overdrive.

Anyone else have a favorite?

“When you have no choice, mobilize the spirit of courage”.

— old jewish proverb

“Smooth seas do not make strong sailors”.

african proverb

“The greater the difficulty the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests”.


“True courage consists not in flying from the storms of life, but in braving and steering through them with prudence”.

Hannah Webster Foster

“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will avoid one hundred days of sorrow”.

Chinese proverb

“Boys, there ain’t no free lunches in this country. And don’t go spending your whole life commiserating that you got the raw deals. You’ve got to say, I think that if I keep working at this and want it bad enough I can have it. It’s called perseverance”.

Lee Iacocca

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time”.

Thomas A. Edison

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish”.

John Quincy Adams

“A diamond is a lump of coal that stuck with it”.

— unknown origin

“When you get in a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn”.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

“Though you cannot go back and start again, you can start from now and have a brand new end”.

— unknown origin

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover”.

Mark Twain

“The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem”.

Theodore Rubin

“March on. Do not tarry. To go forward is to move toward perfection. March on, and fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life’s path”.

“The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious of the rose”.

“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair but
manifestations of strength and resolution”.

Khalil Gibran

“I have become my own version of an optimist. If I can’t make it through one door, I’ll go through another door – or I’ll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present”.

Rabindranath Tagore

“A friend is one before whom I may think aloud”.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I will not forgive. Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note – torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one”.

“Love cannot endure indifference. Like a lamp, it needs to be fed out of the oil of another’s heart, or its flame burns low”.

Henry Ward Beecher

“Do not be afraid to cry. It will free your mind of sorrowful thoughts”.

Hopi saying

“When we show our respect for other living things,
they respond with respect for us”.

Arapaho saying

“Nobody is stronger, nobody is weaker than someone who came back. There is nothing you can do to such a person because whatever you could do is less than what has already been done to him. We have already paid the price”.

Elie Wiesel

growing anew, in spite of the storms

the deck jungle still stands!

So to end this ramble, if you made it this far, thanks for listening!
Tomorrow it’s back to work, back to the kitchen, back to routine.
But tonight the little garden and I are laughing in the face of fear,
rockin’ out to the great Sir Elton John!!

“I’m still standing, better than I ever did…
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid…
I’m still standing after all this time…
Pickin’ up the pieces of my life… ”

goose creek
even down to one goose creek heirloom beginning to blush ripe…
who knows, maybe they will all surprise me!

remember the little curry leaf tree?
hope springs eternal…



  1. indosungod said

    Love reading your garden story Linda. The deck jungle is a thing of joy. All those proverbs sure make sense 😉

    ISG, you are the very best. 🙂

  2. shyam said

    “All will be well at the end. If all’s not well, it’s not the end.”


    Glad you and your tomatoes (and your gorgeous chillies and peppers!) made it whole, Linda!

    I like your quote Shammi — is that from Shyamala the wise? 🙂 I’m so thankful the garden is producing after this disaster year — will take anything I can get! 😉

  3. Mishmash! said

    that curry leaf plant is a trooper for sure! I liked maxixe too 🙂

    hope all is well with u:)

    Hi Shn… and thanks! I am pulling for the little curry tree 🙂

    All’s well thank you — storm’s passed 🙂

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