Thoughts of red at this time of year usually evoke images of Santa, or crimson Christmas ornaments, or bright bows of ribbon on holiday wreaths.
But when we noticed a shock of red in our office mail the other day, we were surprised — and delighted — that it belonged not to a yuletide decoration, but a bright summer tomato.
The tomato was pictured in a seed catalog promoting garden varieties for spring.
That’s the nature of the gardener’s calendar. While we’re trodding through the gray afternoons of winter, the gardener is already thinking of the end of frost, the warming ground, the bright, red tomato ripening on the vine.
We look for hope in a hundred different places during the holidays, but for the gardener, the best kind of cheer can come in thoughts of the future — things yet unplanted, seeds not yet germinated.
That’s what the garden catalogs are selling this season, and we were happy to open our mail and find that small message of hope waiting for us, amid headlines from Washington, D.C., describing this long winter of our discontent.