My recovery post-divorce has taken longer than I ever thought it would and I’ve found I can measure this lilting pace against the number of houseplants I’ve been able to keep alive. For many, this seemingly ordinary thing would be of no consequence, but for me, it has marked a change in my life.
I have never had a green thumb or been a houseplant kind of gal and actually, until recently, I routinely killed every green thing that had the temerity to enter my domain. Once they were living (I use this term loosely) within my four walls they had nowhere to go but down and out. It wasn’t like I derived any satisfaction from starving the life out of these plants but I just kind of forgot about them and their need for water and a certain amount of sunlight. I only paid attention to living things that would routinely talk or bark, with arms and legs or paws, because, as you know, the squeaky wheel always gets the grease. Unfortunately houseplants just aren’t that vocal. They couldn’t demand that I feed and water them and even though I would note in passing that they needed some attention, my follow-through was lacking, to put it mildly, and the plants ended up in the trash more often than not. Somehow over this past year, I have managed to accumulate 9 and ½ houseplants, the ½ plant being one that stayed alive during the divorce, with little or no care, don’t ask me how. But the fact that it managed to do so was the catalyst for my about-face and unbending desire to leave no houseplant behind.
Now that I live alone, I’ve come to find stillness, my breath and some time. And I find the survival of these houseplants to be a comforting metaphor for my life. The fact that I survived my marriage, during which time I was starved and denied my quota of sunlight, makes me see how far I have come. Every time I manage to keep a houseplant alive for longer than a week I feel a sense of joy that warrants celebration, a toast and a dance. It means I have taken another step towards healing myself and that the time has come for me to grow and bloom again. With every houseplant that thrives I feel like I have recovered a piece of my soul. It may sound simple but I think it all makes sense because I’m finally taking stock, taking care and taking time to embrace a brand new way of living, one houseplant at a time.