Broken Tomato Cages pt I

A wonderful metaphor that I have had rattling around the innards of my skull lately is the tomato cage. It is a structure that is very useful. If you have ever planted a tomato plant, you know what happens as the plant grows bigger. The weight of the fruit, and of the plant itself, is too much for it to bear. Its own weight causes it to fall over, which damages the plant, and the tomatoes, which defeats the purpose of planting them! So you put a metal cage around it to help it stay upright. The cage provides support for the plant and allows it to continue its growth far beyond its self-sufficiency without the additional structure.

What has been insightful for me to think on is this: a picture of a gardener putting tomato cages into her garden, but she has no tomato plants! Instead she is putting tomato cages around herbs, carrots, and lettuce, the cages have no point! She continues to focus on the cages themselves and neglecting the plants in the process; the cages have become their own end, they are no longer the means to other ends. She then brags to other gardeners about her marvelous cages, she begins to hold workshops on 'How to Install Tomato Cages,' and markets her own brand of cage.

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