That tomato leaf smell

Sometimes my mind feels like a pinball machine — zooming in opposite directions every five seconds, triggering happy lights and sounds on some journeys, falling into a pit of existential crisis on others. My likes, my dislikes, and even my identity can seem so volatile.

But one of the few things I’ve found to be consistent is how I feel when I am around growing plants, specifically growing vegetables. They make me absolutely buoyant. I feel radiant, like jumping around — sometimes the feeling seems almost too ridiculous to be genuine, but it is.

One veggie thing I adore in particular is the smell of tomato leaves and vines. This like became heightened after I found a tomato leaf candle at an arts festival last summer in Rogers Park. I would get way up close to it while it burned, breathing in the joy and peace, having a quiet moment in my first solo apartment.

Here in Mexico, I’ve been really wishing I could smell a tomato plant and get that little hug from home. I’ve been poking my head into nurseries, and even scanning the streets. Well, yesterday I took a trip to the college botanical gardens and finally got my wish. Plants galore, and so many tomatoes. Here’s a little collage of the trip.



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