The thing I learn over and over from plants is the miracle of resurrection. They lose their leaves and flowers, they die back. And then in spring, when all that was before has turned into a dark rich compost, they come back, nourished by what appeared to die in the fall.
I only had a brief time in my life when I could actually garden in a yard. As my disability progressed, I found I had to content myself with a container garden on the various porches and patios I’ve had. The result is no less miraculous for that.
In my present home, each year, I wait for the first warm days and start cultivating bright flowers with intense colors and interesting shapes. One of my friends helps me plant a few beauties by the porch — and she tends to my elephant ears, which seem to love both the soil and heat of my front yard.
Every day, just about, I got out on the porch and check on my little garden, my happy place. Most years, I try to get a hibiscus and a bougainvillea. This year I found a beautiful golden hibiscus and a dark pink/fuchsia bougainvillea. A friend also got me a red lily. I also have dipladenias, petunias, cannas, morning glories, celosia, coleus and other delights.
And Tuesday morning, I went out to check the plants and get my morning dose of color, but something wasn’t right. The lilies were gone.
Oh, no, the bougainvillea was gone — the one that just developed an aberration and was sprouting white flowers along with the pink.
And the golden hibiscus — gone. So my biggest most valuable potted plants were gone.
They probably would have taken my white dipladenia but it was staked and tied to the porch railing so it would vine along as summer progressed.
With all the chaos going on in the world, with people dying, getting hurt, being abused — the theft of 3 plants off a porch hardly seems like much of a problem. But it really hurt me. It was such a mean and petty theft. How could whoever stole them be proud of them if they had not nurtured their beauty and brought them to bloom?
And I worry that whoever stole them will not take proper care of them. It couldn’t have been a homeless or drug addicted person. The plants were too big and too heavy for any one to carry very far. Some one rushed the porch in the night or the early morning, stole the plants and put them in a car and drove away. Feeling quite entitled and smug, I’m sure.
So, it’s taken me about til now (2 days) to get Zen about it.
Part of it is that I feel like there are fewer and fewer pleasures in my life that I can manage on my own. Tending my garden is one (arting around is the other.) But I can let it go now. Everything comes to an end, sometimes before we imagine it will. I like Helen Keller’s quote:
“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.”
A dear friend brought me another hibiscus — a coral pink Painted Lady. One flower, lots of buds. There aren’t any more bougainvilleas to be had this year.
The thing is though, last fall, I brought in my bougainvillea and my red hibiscus from my porch, and over wintered them indoors. The red hibiscus did well this summer and had just finished a blooming cycle, so it wasn’t decked out in blooms Monday night. The bougainvillea didn’t fare so well, but I gave it a severe pruning a few weeks ago. It looks like a stick with a few leaves randomly pasted on it. But I see that there is new growth just beginning to bud out, which is where the new flowers will grow.
I know this because I tend to my plants. I watch and nurture them. I breathe in their gift of oxygen. I don’t think the person who stole my plants will get nearly the pleasure out of them that I did. I can grow new ones and I doubt they can. And those stolen plants, they made me really happy, which I doubt is an emotion the thief ever feels.
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