By Grace C.
The tomato sandwich is one of those transitional meals that helps us manage the shift from summer to fall. I’m always grateful for a tomato season that mercifully stretches into September, allowing me to use tangy tomatoes, rich mayo, and toasty bread to soften the transition from summer’s warm abundance to fall’s anxious motion - perhaps this year more so than others.
The pandemic year has been a period of deep transition for all of us and it has somewhat forced our hand. We’ve rearranged norms to keep our communities safe, we’ve interrogated the values that we uphold, we’ve altered core parts of our lives - be it out of will or out of necessity - and this season's shift is no different.
Many of us are now transitioning once more. For some, it’s sending children back to in-person school. For others, it’s “return to office” plans.
For me, it has meant recently returning to New York City, after three years away. I’m transitioning from a life in Vermont that allowed me to regain health lost, and one that provided real and proverbial bounties (most often of tomatoes from neighbor’s nearby farms). I’m also transitioning back to working in an office that is surprisingly similar to its pre-pandemic iteration, despite its employees being so profoundly changed. For something that was once so familiar, returning to an NYC office - at a different life stage, with a different level of ability, and with shifted life perspectives - has been a transition that has required me to fully ride the wave.
With this in mind, there have been several practices that all of us in transition can use to ensure we remain moored during this upcoming fall:
Be generous to yourself; allow yourself to feel frustrated or happy or sad; go to bed early when possible, use warm water - baths, water bottles - to soothe aches and pains, etc.
Eat the rainbow; both fresh and fermented foods can strengthen your immunity and help sustain your energy.
Ask for help; whether you need help packing boxes, fixing meals, or just general support, lean on those close to you to help manage the workload that can accompany periods of change.
And of course, make yourself a tomato sandwich to remind yourself that eventually the sweet summer haze will return once again.