Monday, October 17, 2005

brown thumb

so glad i have houseplants. my home would be incomplete without them. i don't have pets. i like animals, i really do. but my last pet will probably be my LAST pet. precious kitty that she was, i had to move and couldn't keep her. it was too much, emotionally. so in order to have something else living in the house, i opt for plants.

plants are great pets. no noise, no fur, no pooper scooper, no food, no vet.

but when i wake up in the morning and see sunshine flooding my beautiful green bamboo sticks and the deep purple wandering jew i'm rooting, i feel good. the bamboo makes me think of righteousness and strength, cause it's tall and straight and so green it's like purity. the wandering jew looks so calm and comfortable with itself. i have plants in every room. they make each space they inhabit feel a little bit more like a home, more cozy, more charming. like the funky looking cactus in my bathroom. or the sprawling plant with deep dark heart shaped leaves in my kitchen.

i have a few plants that i picked up over a year ago that i raised from dixie cups. i rescued them from the foo.d li.on when they were having a clearance sale on dilapidated easter plants. they were so little and seemingly insignificant. but now they are big and strong, greener and repotted a few times over. i am so proud of how i've nurtured those plants to their current happy state - one grows tall and reaches up towards the ceiling. the other grows long and stretches itself over several feet. one day it might cross an entire room.

i have this other plant with such a personality. i can take one look at him, my biggest plant, and tell if he's had enough water or not enough, and whether or not he's had enough sunlight. his leaves turn towards the sunlight so much that i have to rotate him every once in a while to keep him from growing lopsided. the way his leaves bend and perk and wilt is really something, as i can tell what every movement means. it's fun to explain his expressiveness to visitors and then demonstrate by giving him water or sun and then see him 'talk back' maybe an hour later, like "thanks, it's about time i ate," or "you're right, this side of me needs some sunlight."

it's important to me for me to not be the only living thing in the house. having the plants ties me to my mom and her sisters who have all kept plants around for as long as i can remember. there's something cool about being able to keep something alive, knowing that it's an art to learn how to do so. when i get the opportunity to do so, i'll probably garden too, like my aunt does. she grows marigolds, but she also has collards, kale, snap beans, and tomatoes. which, by the way, taste very good. my parents have a grapevine, and every summer the grapes get bigger and sweeter. all the neighborhood birds love their yard. my dad has an uncle that grows huge heads of cabbage. i never liked cabbage that much. but i suspect he gets something out of it. just like i get something out of cultivating life in my houseplants. it's like a spiritual thing. not quite like making a cat purr or having a dog befriend you, but it's definitely got its own merit.