Healing with houseplants

HouseplantsIt’s been pouring rain all day, the kind of rain that seeps into my soul. The grayness defies my windows that usually lend endless light, sapping the room of its energy. I drive to the hardware store.

I walk slowly through the aisles of plants, holding one in each hand only to replace them with new pair after new pair. I like to think of plants choosing me rather than me choosing them.

Houseplants have helped me heal over the years.

I bought a cactus a few days after I was discharged from the hospital in 2016. It was flowering at the time, the blossom an ombre bulb of red, pink, orange and yellow. Like a cute, little, prickly sunset or something.

The flower shriveled almost instantly, and I thought I had killed the cactus (not a good omen for a girl who had just had two blood transfusions, TBH). But it came back from that scare with two new arms, and I still have it today. It’s lopsided and awkward as ever, but I could never part with it.

I should prune it, maybe tame it a bit. It throws strange shadows as the sun comes up, magnified arms stretching across the floor as if swallowing my kitchen whole. I aspire to be like it in some regards — growing wildly, albeit a little unruly, taking up as much damn space as I want.

My houseplants listened to an exclusive live performance of my first legal memo from start to finish. They were so polite as I explained 10 pages of the Arizona recreational user statute.

I bought a new plant this week as I do every March for my gluten-free anniversary. The fern and the cactus looked a whole lot more alive than I did at this time two years ago, and they’re still here with me, tossing strange shadows on my kitchen floor, shadows that mold to my skin as I make my oatmeal in the morning, wrapping their way around my bare arms and legs as I groggily move through my kitchen.

They remind me to slow down, be patient (I’m notoriously bad at this) and take the time to grow. And based purely on the number of times that I’ve (probably) over- or under-watered them, that they’ll be OK, and so will I.

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