In Chicago, the community has spoken. “Why won’t it stop?” sobbed one acquaintance, referring to the deceitful sun, who has recently tricked residents into believing it is spring. Some have reported hearing distant, maniacal laughs, as they naively leapt outdoors, wearing only light sweaters. Others have ventured to believe that the fall of winter is nigh, swinging the ends of their scarves like nooses around their necks. But the sun has refused to comment, spinning insouciantly on its axis. Meanwhile, in a little room a few miles north of the city, a jasmine plant leans into the window, its leafy limbs outstretched towards the sky.
I must confess, I have been genuinely loving these first few days of spring. Yes, it has been freezing. Unseasonably chilly. Hideous patches of dirty ice continue to leer at drivers from the edges of the street. But it has been sunny, and therefore beautiful. And I owe all this joy to my mini indoor garden, which has me celebrating the sun with extra purpose this year.
I think my plants are certifiable therapists, is what they are. Over the past wintery months, my desire to keep my plants alive has made each day an adventure, carting them from window to window, trying to catch fleeting slivers of light. But it is always a welcome break, this concern for the livelihood of my silent and frail companions. And the reward, in simply watching them grow, keeps me grateful. Rooted.
In this life there are many realities. There are the realities of this world that we can see, that we can apply all of our working senses to. There are also intangible realities, of our individual feelings and perceptions, of our senses of things. And then there is the reality of living beings quite outside ourselves, growing humbly between sidewalk cracks, bubbling in ponds, or living forever in untouched forests. The lifespan of a mayfly, for instance, varies from thirty minutes to one day. Sycamore trees, on the other hand, can live for six hundred years…
Of course, I don’t think of this every day, of the varieties of foliage that will outlive me. But it does bring to mind the fleeting power we have on this earth, to enjoy it and grow things.
Happy Spring, my friend. Happy joy.