Have you ever not killed a plant? It was winter break 2014, and the university was closed for two weeks. According to a prof at the university, the heat was even turned off, and the temperature plummeted to nearly -40 degrees Celsius inside (not sure how true that is, as it wasn’t quite that cold outside). Andrew and I brought our plants to school namely because our cat viewed plants as a buffet, and some of our plants were pernicious to cats when consumed. Note that my husband and I are not adept at caring for plants (cats are actually easier, as they require daily routine care and communicate many of their needs through behaviors such as vocalizing and creating a ruckus by knocking perfume bottles off counters in the middle of the night).
I, in fact, am guilty of the death of my college cactus. My resident advisor issued to each of her charges our very own cactus. There is a tradition at Wellesley College that the greenhouse proffers all first years a plant to take care of and develop like the students as they grow into young women. My resident advisor’s first year plant did not survive to the second year, so she thought to remedy this for us she would issue us hearty cacti (is the plural of cactus cacti?). Unfortunately, my cactus kept adhering to my window shade. When I yanked on the shade each morning to activate the mechanism for it to roll up to the top of the window, I found the cactus had rolled up with the shade and could be found dangling from the top of my window, roots and all. My cactus didn’t actually die despite this trauma, but I eventually gave up on trying to take care of it.
Plants are hearty, resisting and recovering from trauma with some care. Andrew, my husband, watered our plants in his office thoroughly before bidding them adieu for the break. Upon our return two weeks later, they looked wilted, half corpses as they were. But after watering them, they began to salute the sun again, stretching like a yogi to meet the window. Their flowers even gained renewed life, obtaining strength from care every day.
In life we neglect many things including our health, old friendships, hobbies, and maybe occasionally our plants. But perhaps as with plants, these precious treasures can be nurtured again and return to health. Of course it is better to take care of all the living things, including the things which give us life like music and passions, but, as my aunt always says, it is never too late. It is never too late to change and to nurture those very dormant and broken parts of our selves to renewed vigor.
So what have you neglected recently?