Just about one year ago, my manager brought me some baby eggplants, which I wrote about here. Last week, she brought me a few more, as they have shown up again at her neighborhood farmer's market.
It struck me, while photographing them, how much has changed in my life in this last year. M. is no longer my manager, in fact no longer even working in my department. I was promoted to her position, which at the time I was sure I was unprepared for, but in which I have excelled. Where we used to look into each other's office windows across a patio and have active chat windows open all day each day, joking and gossiping about work and co-workers, now I'm excited when I run into her in the hall, and we have to schedule coffee or the occassional meal together days in advance. My new manager, while vocal in his appreciation of me, would never bring me eggplants for a treat. He's just not that observant of my quirks. I'm not even sure he knows that I paint, or even that I'm handy with a camera. It is very different working for a man than for a woman, and I'm still discovering how to communicate with him effectively and efficiently, where M. and I were like two peas in a pod almost immediately, often finishing each other's sentences and communicating in glances and half-statements.
Even more personally, I find that the camera is now more often my medium than the paintbrush, and the quality of my photographs has improved massively. I'm less intimidated by the kitchen these days, and there's a greater chance that this batch of eggplants will get cooked and eaten than the last batch. The house I brought these home to is now ours, and I caught myself considering that dark maroon as an accent wall color when processing this photo.
What hasn't changed: I'm still charmed by eggplants, especially the itty-bitty ones. I still haven't figured out how to grow them in our cool coastal micro-climate. I still have the need to capture and save this small moment of happy beauty - an unexpected gift of friendship - in words and images. I occupy the same window office, off the same patio, and I'm still a QuickTime girl at heart.