A few of my plants are dying. How did I not notice? I look at them daily. Surely I should have seen the leaves begin to curl inward, shrivel on the ends, all that brown on the dragon tree - so much brown that when I finally did take note, the long strands of leaves came off in my hands as I reached into the depths of the plant, which always feels like such an intrusion. More than a dozen, perhaps even twenty, brown and crisped leaves that I carried to the wastebasket. I returned to the living room and pulled the tree from the corner and examined it, noting that the tops of the two branches in the front, one three feet tall and the other two, much shorter than the back, reaching six plus feet, were actually drooping downward, just entirely bowing to the earth in concession, a sad but knowing submission of their end.
Was it gradual? Was I too busy to take note? I thought about rearranging the living room, the tree is large and needs quite a bit of space. Perhaps I could live with an odd furniture arrangement for a few weeks while I nursed the tree back to health. Did the winter take it's toll? There were so many days made up of the darkest gray, and not a single southern facing window in the house. Not a one.
The plant from the dining table, this soft and slightly waxy beauty I picked up and slipped into my cart at the market, might make it through. I took it from the table when I woke this morning, it's very early and I wanted that soft easterly light to slice through the glass of the front windows and land, hop, land on the leaves, they were a bit more silvery before and I hope to see that color again and soon. I placed it on the end table by the sofa, where all the little plants in their terra cotta pots make the rotation to eventually. While I'm writing, I'm sitting in a chair near it and watching, and there are a few leaves that as I lift my head to check on it, are beginning to reach toward the sun. There is hope.
The light is coming in the windows full force now, thick and golden, the light of the end of winter, the beginning of spring. It seems easy...the answers are there. Light, water, pruning, larger pots when needed. It's not as if I'm unaware of what they need. I'm watching these two plants, one brightening now with the warmth of the light, the other still broken and drooping. I knew what it needed, but the mistake was made. I didn't nurture it, or notice it's needs. It began to droop and wither and die. It's hurting because of me, because of my misstep, my lack of attentiveness.
Goodness, I really love them. I truly do. So why did I glance over and find that their death was imminent? Weren't there signs? Shouldn't something I claim to love so deeply, something that makes me so happy, be not just noted or glanced at, but fully invested in and taken care of? Shouldn't I be working towards thriving, not just surviving?