Thursday, October 30, 2014

Day Thirty: The House Plant

This year for Mother's Day, the Little Man gave me a potted plant. I mentioned during the house tour that I was going to come back to it later. Considering that this is the second to last day of October, it can't really get much later than this.

The fact that this houseplant is still alive is a miracle. First, it had to survive my black thumb. Then, it had to survive the move here. And finally, it had to survive my black thumb. (Wait, did I remember to mention my black thumb?)

But seriously: green things start experiencing deep rooted (haha) trauma as soon as they're brought into my presence.

I really was legitimately worried that our little plant wouldn't make it through this move though. So much so that I gently suggested to Littles that we regift it to a more stable home before our move. Incidentally, the Man thought that was terrible. But Littles was so sure we could provide all the love and care our plant needed, so we tucked it in between the driver's seat and the passenger seat, and proceeded to drive halfway across the country with it.

It got knocked over a couple of times before I figured out the perfect way to wedge it in there. So yes, there was more than a little bit of dirt scattered along the floor boards, but it was hanging in there. I've never been so proud of a plant in my life.

When we moved in to the new house, I thought we were home free. I put it on the green mosaic table on the porch and patted myself on the back.

The next morning I found it on its side on the porch, two feet away from the table. Thinking some freak windstorm had sprung up during the night, I scooped the loose dirt back in and put it back on the table.

Same thing the next morning. Thinking I'd learned my lesson, I moved it to the ground. But the tragic demolition of the plant continued. One time it even made it all the way to the sidewalk.

Really, now that I think of it, these may have been escape attempts. Maybe the plant was trying to get back to Oklahoma. Or just away from me.

Anyway, having now lost several teaspoons of soil, possibly tablespoons, I finally wised up and moved it inside where it may be exposed to loud shrieking and the occasional thrown football but is at least not in peril of being blown over repeatedly.

Unfortunately, the damage had already been done. A significant portion of the roots had been knocked loose and an unsightly number of leaves were yellowing.

I thought our plant was a goner.

I kept watering it faithfully and whispering sweet words of encouragement…and preparing Littles for the eventual end.

But then I realized what the plant really needed (probably) was just some more dirt. Unfortunately, that was harder to come by than I realized. Our back yard, if you recall, consists of some tastefully strewn wood chips.

But lo and behold, what should our refined and thoughtful guests bring us when they came for dinner last week but a pot of mums! So a couple of days ago, I let our new mums share a little bit of their dirt with my tiny, yellowing houseplant. And wouldn't you know it? While some of the bottom leaves are still yellow, there's already a new bloom, and I would swear on my life that plant looks happier.

So where is my point in all of this? Because you know I don't ramble along about plant life for no good reason.

The point is that I've felt a lot like that plant these last couple of months. I've been knocked about a bit, lost some dirt here and there. My roots, and sometimes my nerves, have been exposed, left to the elements, unprotected. And maybe I just need someone to give me some dirt from a new place so that I can sink my roots back in and get some nourishment so I can bloom again.

There is something about change that shakes us about and leaves us feeling a bit bare and naked. We stretch out our roots to try to find stability again, to try to engage, because we know that rootlessness means stunted growth, but sometimes all we're making contact with is air. We need the gift of a little dirt. We need someone, somewhere, to welcome us into this new space (whether physical and metaphorical) and say, "Here. Grow. Bloom. Set down roots and be welcome here."

Thank you to those of you who are sharing a bit of dirt with me, whether that is in the form of a shared meal or a pot of flowers or the simplicity of a conversation. Thank you. And to those of you looking on as some plant near you tries to put out tenuous roots, give them a little bit of soil--and just see the beauty that unfolds.

My leaves may still be a bit yellow at the bottom, but there are new blooms opening.

Find the rest here.

1 comment:

  1. I actually think that you are not as bad as YOU think at house plants. I mean, have you ever killed them so much that the only thing to do was to spray-paint it silver and decorate it as a Christmas tree? Not yet. But if it does die, there is always that option.