This morning when I am at the kitchen sink washing my hands, I turn my head slightly and take notice of the big beautiful basil plant that sits atop our little toaster oven. Let me be clear before I proceed – big beautiful plants and me are like oil and water: do not mix. It’s safe to say that this beautiful basil (let’s call it BB for short) will have a short life.
See, I cannot keep plants alive. And do you want to know why? Because quite simply, I forget that they are there.
I came to this realization as I gazed admiringly at BB. See, BB was given to us by a friend to tend to while she is away for a month. We will be lucky if BB lasts that long…
I also realized as I sat staring at her bright green, happy leaves (my partner has been watering her by the way) that I only notice plants when they are doing well – ie don’t need watering. If a plant is wilting or drooping or shriveling up or dying from dehydration, I take no notice. If its big and full and beautiful, I stop and look and admire with appreciation.
Don’t get me wrong – I actually love plants. I wish I could keep them alive, because I think they are wonderful. But every time someone (who doesn’t know me very well) gives me a plant as a gift, I secretly think to myself, poor thing, little does it know it’s on its way to its demise.
As I gazed at BB, I had another realization. The type of relationship I have with plants – well, specifically that I only notice them when they are doing well and don’t “see” them when they are withering and dying – feels quite analogous to my own life. In my family, I was only noticed if I was happy, upbeat, and thriving. If I was hurting, suffering, despairing, dying inside… nobody saw.