Green thumb in time

Since losing my last job almost three months ago, life has really slowed down — and it’s been a welcome change. I can’t emphasize enough how welcome that change has been. One thing I’ve found comfort in over the past couple weeks is the plants. Just yesterday I sent a photo of our yellow 4 o’clocks, or Mirabilis jalapa to my mom, and we exchanged a series of three emails relating to what have become one of my favorite flowering plants. Maybe it’s a sign of finally maturing. Maybe it’s because I’ve truly experienced hustle and bustle; the stresses of providing for a family and maintaining some kind of semblance of what others might call success. Perhaps it’s something that I want to do, and it provides me with a form of fulfillment.

Just this morning I transplanted a jade pup plant to a new pot for my office. And this afternoon I potted a newly-acquired desert rose with some ice plant clippings from our front yard. Six months ago these moments would have seemed trivial. Now I take a moment to focus on what I’m doing and appreciate what will eventually, with patience, be “explosions of beauty” in the near future.

As I type this I’m looking at my little jade pup plant that sits atop my desk where I spend most of my time. It’s a pup from the big jade in the pot in our backyard. It started out as a pup as well. It was from the original jade plant that my mom gave me 16 years ago when I moved to Austin for college. When I first moved here, the plant-concious part of me that is all mom hadn’t surfaced. I think she gave me the jade plant because it’s relatively tolerant of neglect. And I gave that plant plenty of neglect. We endured a hard frost some 10+ years ago and the jade she gave me was on the verge of total death. For whatever reason, I plucked the only little branch that had an inkling of green life left in it and potted it. And that’s the jade plant that I’ve had ever since. It’s never neglected nowadays. The green thumb genes from my mom are, I guess, finally starting to rear their head. And I welcome that change as well.

John posted a link to Derek Powazek’s post titled “They Don’t Complain and They Die Quietly” on Facebook yesterday, and the timing was just right for a read like that…

These changes don’t happen at internet speeds. You’ll hardly know they’re happening at all. This is one of the gifts plants give me. They remind me to slow down, to take the long view, to breathe, relax, and just wait for what happens next.

Good stuff.

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