This week brought a lot of relief and a lot of appreciation. I got my first bike ride, got to see friends, got to unwind and discuss.. There was even a goblet of champagne waiting for me. That afternoon was like a soothing tonic for my nerves and I came home with a happy heart.
It hasn’t taken very long to see the importance of connection and contact. Lots of reminders of what is really important. Friends and family were absolutely highlighted. I found that as the week went on and a certain levity began to hang in the air, I was having a lot of thoughts around home bubble up and was hit by a wave of homesickness, suddenly feeling the distance.
Now that I could, I ventured back to the apartment to see if there was any life left. Plants are resilient, but as anyone who has ever killed one by over-watering knows, they’re not indestructible. And one plant in particular, was on my mind. We weren’t sure it would survive the isolation and the weight of that realization was unreasonably heavy.
One day, I found this plant in the dark hallway, as I was coming home. I noticed him right away, sitting alone in the corner, in a red, plastic pot. I’m sure that I said ‘hello’, if not out loud than at the very least in my mind. I asked what he (yes, he) was doing there and decided I was going to keep an eye on him, just in case.
On Day 2, I poked my head out into the hallway to check on my little friend. He was still there. Huh, that’s not, uh.. That’s not good. Well.. I decided it would be fair to give it one more day, just in case he had somewhere else to go.
On the morning of Day 3, I opened the door to find that the plant was still there. Alright.
I quickly grabbed the little tree in the red pot and brought him inside the apartment. I supposed he was left to die, but there appeared to be a good bit of life still in him. His soil didn’t look great, so I grabbed a terra cotta pot from the balcony and mixed him something fresh with a little bit scoop of compost thrown in and placed him in the corner, next to the glass door for maximal warmth and light. Welcome home, Alain.
When I first introduced the new rescue, he was to my surprise, criticized as being ugly. “No, he’s not”, I rebuked. “He’s beautiful”. That was the end of that, with a matter of fact. It didn’t take long for Alain to slowly begin coming back to life. His one-time critic soon became the greatest singer of his praises. But we noticed that as he sprouted new leaves, he also shed some. It became apparent that he was slow to respond to change and concluded that he was, en fait, a very old tree.
I was lucky to experience some important and unexpected eye-openings these last few weeks that I will be grateful for for a very long time. I feel like the wind suddenly knocked me on course. It was sadly at the cost of the plants.
I came back to the apartment expecting the worst. Sometimes a little stoicism goes a long way. I had already mourned and said my goodbyes. Alain was dead, although he appeared peacefully asleep. I carefully lifted him from the corner and smudged his aged branches, before pulling the smokey quartz and rhodochrosite from his soil.
So long, old man.