When I opened my first shop nearly ten years ago, my Aunt Nancy sent me a beautiful plant congratulating me and wishing me much success. I secretly hoped that my success in my new endeavor wouldn’t mimic the success I usually had with keeping plants alive. Not a strong suit, I freely admit.
But, hey, with some teenage workers I could delegate the water management to, the beautiful plant continued to flourish and thrive as my shop remained open. New shoots readily sprouted as my business grew and prospered, only pausing, it seemed, when some unexpected calamity occurred; like when my business partner up and moved to Charlotte, or when my lease was in jeopardy of not being renewed. A few more leaves would drop, making me wonder if it was even worth the effort to keep it alive.
Somehow it managed to survive a move to a new shop, then, sadly back to our home, when my final and last shop shut its doors. One day, I lugged the now spindly twiggy looking thing out to the curb, only to return later in the day to find it staring me down in the kitchen. I knew there could only be one answer to this situation: the Engineer.
What the heck, I asked him. Give it a rest, that thing is dead. The Engineer told me it was no longer my concern, he would take care of it. It had plenty of life left.
Now, perhaps he knew I had been a tad depressed, maybe because a few times when he came home for lunch, I had to scramble from my re-rack. Maybe the robe and slippers at dinner on occasion was another indication.
Regardless, it was my damn plant and if I wanted it gone, it was my right. Who died and made him Mr. Green Thumb anyway?
Well, needless to say the dreaded plant saga continued. I moved it to the garage. A few weeks later I nearly tripped over it walking from our garage on the little sidewalk that linked our garage to the steps of our deck. Out of the corner of my eye, a few new sprouts worked their way into my vision. It needed light, the Engineer said.
Weeks turned into months, and the plant had become a “mood ring” of my life. I even started watering it again. When good things were happening, the leaves were bountiful. Conversely, when not, it resembled a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.
The very interesting thing through all of this, though, was the Engineer would not let it die. The minute the leaves all but fell off and it looked pitiful, the Engineer could be seen with his little watering can.
The plant continued to move to various rooms in our home, center stage when abundant and full of life, back in our bedroom during the those scraggy days.
If you are wondering, yes the plant is still with us. In fact, I noticed some new sprigs yesterday, which prompted me to reflect on the meaning of it all.
Was there some special purpose in the life of the plant?
Was it a reflection of my successes and failures?
And what did the Engineer’s role in all of this, mean?
Was it some weird nurturing pattern on his part to take care of my, sometimes wounded spirit?
Was some force in the cosmic universe trying to communicate something to me?
Or maybe it is as simple as, if you water a plant, it lives; if you let it dry out, it dies.