The Lifespan of Plants

As the seasons keep turning another page, and the year moves to a place of taking stock of what’s been planted and what’s been harvested from intention, work, or prayer, I spend time with plants in my home.

I have a handful of plants that I am attempting to care for in an apartment. My only reference point at plant care has been in wild open ground with access to weather, soil, sunshine, and visits from critterfolk passersby.

I have three sets of different plants. All of them seem to be suffering in some capacity. This is outside of familiar territory for me to understand what to do. I feel a little helpless and forget the early stages of my original garden. Some things made it and some things didn’t.

That is always the metaphor in life, intentions, prayer, and work. Life moved me away from my original garden. Choice moved me away from my original garden. Necessity moved me away from a place I called home.

I flounder looking for ways to recreate a sense of nurturing things outside of me that bring me peace.

Taking care of beauty in a space it is not made for does not bring me peace. Just more discomfort at knowing that this spot on the page in my life everything feels constrictive. My voice. My writing. My connections. My understanding of love, in its weird and wild ebb and flow. When life feels constrictive I try to find words to articulate.

Oppressive. Suffocating. Dim. Deficit.

Too many words can lead me to a place of forgetting. I need to turn on the light. I need just as much sunshine as these suffering plants.

I have tried to take on their fate as my responsibility, as well as their ability to thrive. It’s a heavy burden to try and force things alive in places they are not environmentally meant to. That’s a heavy burden to burn into my hands, as if what happens is my fault because I am attempting to keep something of beauty awake in conditions that are set against success.

My lavender- I have had several harvests

I have to understand my intention, above all else. Circumstances outside of myself have impacted these lives, and my work and dedication is probably the only thing that has kept them alive. They cannot water themselves. They cannot take themselves in away from frost or snow. They cannot move themselves outside into direct sunlight. They depend on me, and I am working my best to help them.

I remember how my heart burst alive when my lavender would thrive so wonderfully in my garden. I would sit for hours, coffee in hand, and just take in the beauty of the day- the promise that felt alive in and around me. The rush of butterflies or blue jays that would pay a visit while I was weeding or watering. The secret found objects like a hidden ladybug standing at the precipice of a sunflower leaf, as if considering its next move- fly or search for sustenance.

I remember my microcosm with great fondness, and am saddened when I look at these new plants.

It’s not the same. Not nearly the same. An attempt is always an attempt. What is meant to thrive needs the right conditions to match the needs.

One’s hands can only do so much.

It reminds me to invest time and energy into something that maybe I can see more ROI from. Something I can feel a deep success in knowing that it is thriving. Is this a place of dipping my toes into something new and tucking away a pasttime that brought me joy for another day meant for better circumstances. I want to feel the electric moment of knowing something is turning out good amidst my hard work. I need to see the fruits of my labors paying something back.

In this place I feel that my efforts have siphoned me more than offered me peace. In this place I feel the burden of wanting my needs met by something that I invest my time in. In this place I feel the need to be nurtured by things that I nurture in return. I claim reciprocity as my new pivot point. Giving like this feels too heavy.

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