Wednesday, August 3, 2011
the jade plant
sunshine spills in the cottage. it pours through half-closed blinds and washes the sofa during these dog days. it lays its rays on the kitchen counter at high noon and cuts a line across to the sink, illuminating unwashed dishes when no one's home to see.
but i can't keep a houseplant. the little windowsill above my sink does well enough, with begonias and a jalapeno plant reaching their green faces to the sky. but an actual potted plant? droopy within days. immediately yellow.
i blame it on my need to over-nurture. let's not forget, i'm the girl who tucks her dog into a velvet blanket each night and prays over him. so i behave with plants. they are alive. dependent on me. my responsibility. so i do what my own mama does--i feed them heaping portions. as mama shovels chicken pie onto our plates even as we insist we only want a tiny slice, so i fill up my watering pail and feed the plants every morning. it's too much. it kills them.
but i come from a long line of women who show love through food. it's in my nature and i'll inevitably pass it down to my children. i can think of worse problems to have.
so i did something the other day. i bought a jade plant. the little tag said it didn't need much water. didn't even need much sunshine. i believe the exact phrase was "excellent for beginners. requires low maintenance."
a plant that doesn't need me too much? yes, please.
however, every morning, right before heading out the door in my heels, i take the plant from the living room and place it on the counter, where sunlight can fill it and it can stretch. i can't help it. and so far, he's a resilient little thing, growing only up.
and so nature blends with nurture. the two currents joining in a symbiotic relationship fueled by good intent. that's what i'm going to keep reminding myself--it's the intent that matters. long after the leaves turn yellow.