My friend Clover is a ridiculous optimist.
She arrived at my home yesterday – plant in hand. Even though I have killed every seedling and shoot that has crossed my threshold. Easy ones – amaryllis and succulent. Even the cacti she brought me when I moved back to Chicago.
They lived in a large glass bowl with sand, rocks and driftwood, as well as a golden deity. When the first one died, I brought the terrarium to the shop it came from and watched the owner delicately place a new cactus in its place. During our conversation, he convinced me to try my hand at a succulent – a hearty jade housed in an earthenware vessel, surrounded by wire. Protected. Safe.
I too was optimistic.
I saw the jade in my morning meditation, and took it to be a symbol of preparing soil. Allowing the ground to lie fallow every seven years – as is mandated in the Book of Leviticus. Without crop. Resting. Rejuvenating.
It was during this time – in the first months after my divorce – that several people suggested I not date for a full year, and I saw the soil as myself – getting ready.
I flourished. But both the cactus and the jade withered.
My apartment gets precious little direct sunlight. And yet…
I tossed the jade, but kept the container. The shriveled, grey cactus still sits in the sand terrarium. A reminder? A warning? An omen?
Perhaps it is time to throw away this remnant – what couldn’t survive – to make room for something new. Not necessarily another cactus. But something larger and leafier, like the plant Clover brought into my home.
She insists this one is “easy.” It doesn’t require much sunlight. Just water – twice each week. And a new pot, sooner rather than later, as it is a little big for its orange, earthenware container, and will soon outgrow it.
For the past several days, I haven’t been able to shake the feeling that something is about to change. What? I’m not certain. But I feel the rumblings within. I am both anxious and excited – eager to greet the shift.
Perhaps this one will be easy too. Water. A little sun. A bigger container…with room to grow.