The Parable of the Tomato Plant

An Introduction

I am a plant lady. This is not news; it is merely a fact that must be presented before I proceed with this story.

What follows is a real-life parable. It’s a story about a tomato plant. Really RIVETING stuff.

In case you forgot what a parable is, it is a simple story told to teach a lesson. Keep in mind that this particular parable is about an event that actually happened, unlike a story I was told about TURNING WATER INTO WINE, which I still have yet to prove is possible. SMH.

The Parable of the Tomato Plant

I am a plant lady. I have plants on the patio. Plants in the living room. Plants in the bathroom. Plants on the window sill in the kitchen. The latter are all herbs. They sit on a south-facing window sill in a sunny spot where they thrive because there are no bugs to kill them and more stable temperatures (save yourself the hard lesson of watching your herbs succumb to evil bugs and fluctuating temperatures and just keep the damn plants inside. Note: this is a parable within a parable--a parableception, if you will).

Historically, I have had a hard time with cilantro (it is a beast that requires an absurd amount of water each day), but I recently bought a magnificent, healthy cilantro plant that was living its best life. We had more cilantro than we could use! I’d never had a cilantro plant that lived so long that it started to flower. (note: you don’t want your herbs to flower). At the same time it started to flower, though, it also began to die. There wasn’t anything I could do to recover it. This sad cilantro plant sat half-dead and then dead-dead on the window sill for a long time.

One day, this tiny green thing sprung out of the dirt near the edge of the pot. “I don’t know what this is,” I said to myself as my brain voice increased in pitch out of excitement, “but I’m definitely gonna wait around and find out!”

Soon, the tiny green thing became a little green thing. I couldn’t tell if it was a weed or what, but the mad scientist living in my brain wanted nothing else but to watch as the thing did its thing. The mystery plant got bigger and bigger (I kept watering it/the dead cilantro much to the chagrin of my partner, who wished I’d just throw the damn thing out already). After some time, I noticed that the mystery plant had fuzzy stalks, oddly similar to...a TOMATO PLANT!

Eventually, it became highly evident that this was a tomato plant. It got so big, I had to REPOT IT! I took out the dead cilantro, shook out some of the dirt to center the tomato plant in the middle of the pot, and propped it back up against the window. My surprise tomato plant is doing very well now, although I think it’s still too warm for it to bear fruit.

I guess the lesson to be learned here is that sometimes, you think you know exactly what the plan is: buy the cilantro, water the cilantro, eat the cilantro. But sometimes, fate has a different plan in store--like a VERY RESILIENT, SURPRISE TOMATO PLANT!

I think it’s safe to say that we could all stand to be a little more resilient when life throws us a curveball. Your prize plant might die, or your dream job might get filled by someone else. That doesn’t have to mean it’s the end! Sometimes there's a metaphorical tomato seed hidden in your pot of cilantro, waiting for some space to grow. Sometimes the cilantro has to die in order for the tomato plant to thrive.

Either that or “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” is a very real threat.

Dead, flowered cilantro pictured to scale.

Dead, flowered cilantro pictured to scale.

Repotted, happy tomato plant.

Repotted, happy tomato plant.