The shining green scent of tomato vines growing in the fresh earth of a country garden
What does a child remember?
I remember sitting alone, hidden in a vast jungle of vines.
This was when I was very small before such a thing as Time.
I recall the sun, warm on my face, and the dark earth, cool under my bare knees.
But most of all I remember the bright fuzzy leaves that surrounded me and kept me safe from the world. They tickled my tiny fingers as I petted them. This made me laugh and I was enraptured.
I remember hearing my name called in the distance. Someone had noticed I was missing. Most reluctantly, I crawled from my new Secret Place. Grownup voices had absolute power to compel and I sensed I was in trouble...
But as my small head poked out from beneath the tomato vines where I'd been hiding, I looked up into my aunt's face high above me as kind and warm as the sun overhead. She smiled and said, "There you are! Come and have a cookie." I crawled out of the vegetable garden, she gently took my hand and led me back to the house.
Long years later, I easily recall my aunt's smile. It is indelibly linked to the smell of the tomato vines around me, shimmering and beating like a cloud of butterflies. And for my whole life, the smell of tomato leaves instantly brings to mind my aunt, her gentle, loving nature and her boundless kindness.
What does a child remember? A child remembers kindness.