Time is circular, not linear. The proof is in the fact that the farm stand, right around mid July each year, starts to fill up with tomatoes. They trickle in gradually for a few weeks, suddenly bursting in stacks upon stacks of giant red and orange Big Beefs. And I, year after year, find myself spending more time between the plum and Asian pear trees back there, sorting through the bounty. It's the same as always (circular) but I'm thinking different thoughts (linear) but the thoughts reach back and forth between months and years, building on one another until I'm in a wholly new place, wholly new mindset, sorting bright new fruits. So, I guess that means that time is more of a spiral than a circle or a line. I can look back into the heart of the spiral, and see myself sorting tomatoes in this very spot last year. I can squint and look further inside, and see myself sorting tomatoes at Laurel Valley farm in 2011, inundated with them when I first arrived in August. And I can still feel my hands forming muscle memory and my eyes, honing in on the small scars and cracks that differentiate a market tomato from a restaurant tomato from a CSA tomato, back eight summers ago at Gathering Together Farm. Years pass, the setting changes around me, and I'm still reaching for tomatoes, cupping their soft skins in the palm of my hand, flipping them over to check for abnormalities, depositing them gently in the appropriate crate.
And if I can see out, beyond where I'm now drifting in time, will I still be buried in tomato stacks, passing fruit after fruit between my hands, when I have twice as many wrinkles around my searching eyes?