“Now” needs a plant


Today is a day for doing things that need to be done. Sleeping in. Enjoying my morning coffee. A load of laundry. A sink of dishes. Errands. Taxes. Getting my life in order. (Notice how sleep and coffee are just as much necessities as doing my taxes. Priorities.) This day off from work has largely been spent within the walls of my apartment, and there is no place that I would rather be.

As some of you might know, after 7 wonderful years, I am planning on leaving Seattle early this fall. Call it an adventure, call it a quest, but after lunch today with my dear friend Mark Isakson, I personally am going to refer to it solely as, henceforth, The Big Trip.

I have no idea what will come of this time. I do not know where I am going, what I will do when I get there, how long I will be gone. I do know that I hope to return to Seattle, whether in 3 months or 3 years. Seattle was the first thing that I ever fell in love with, and it remains high on my list of infatuations; surely I won’t be able to stay away for too long?

I love all of you who live in Seattle – really, I do. I will miss you all immensely. But please do not be offended when I say that the thing that I am mourning the most about this move is the loss of my apartment. I have lived alone in my little studio for almost 2 years now, and it has been a haven and a place of rest and joy for me. I have gained a significant familiarity with myself through living here. I will be so sad to leave when my lease is up at the end of June.

Keeping that in mind – that is, the fact that I am only in my apartment for 3 more months – you might think that I would be strategizing about the logistics of The Big Trip. What to keep, and what to get rid of? Where will I put my furniture? How does one go about moving when she doesn’t know where she’s moving to? Where will I live for July and August as I finish up at work? And for crying out loud, what am I going to do about medical insurance? But today, I am not thinking about those things. I have had a more pressing issue at hand.

It’s that pesky corner – the one behind my couch. It’s so… empty. And plain. It needs… something. Something vibrant and colorful and entirely “Annie.” It needs a plant.

I know, I know – I am only here for 3 more months. I have no business getting a plant – what am I going to do with it in 3 short months? But you know what? All that we really have is today, this moment. I can plan and plan, and think that I know what’s going to happen in my life, and the entire world can change in a split second. Control is an illusion. We do not have the past, we do not have the future, we have the NOW.

And I’m pretty sure that the NOW would be made exponentially more wonderful if I had a plant in that corner.

I have had two plants in that corner in the past. The first one was a sad, scraggly, Charlie Brown Christmas tree of a plant that I appropriately named Dr. Seuss. Eventually, it was unbearable to wake up each morning to the sight of it struggling toward vitality, and so I tossed it. The second was a palm from Ikea that I continually tried to nurse to health. But one day I looked into the pot and saw a multi-legged creature squirming through the soil, and after recoiling with a gasp of absolute horror, I promptly threw the entire plant, pot and all, into the dumpster. Because that? Was disgusting.

Wandering through the house-plants at the store today, I found several that might work. I carefully pulled each plant from its assigned place on the shelves and risers, and placed them in a circle around me in the middle of the aisle. My index finger pressed to my chin, I slowly turned and surveyed the options. With the careful inspection that one might use when picking a puppy from the pound – or a husband, for that matter – I considered the possibilities, and arrived at a decision.

And I must say, I am happy with my $20 purchase:

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Worthy every penny, and the next 3 months will be more beautiful because of it. Continue growing, continue putting down roots, even in the face of change and uncertainty. All that we are given is today, so live. Seize the day, save the planet, and buy that plant!


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1 Comment

  1. The Gilchrists on April 2, 2007 at 10:27 AM


    I am enjoying your blog–you are a good writer.
    I, too, have been reflecting on the idea of being settled or putting down roots, even when you know that change is on the horizen. I applaud the fact that you bought a plant, knowing you are moving. We approached our apartment a little differently, and I wish now that we hadn’t. We painted a few rooms when we first moved in, thinking we’d do the rest later. Well, every time “later” came, I thought “there’s no point in painting now–we won’t be here for very long.” And so, our living room and kitchen are still naked white…and have been for a year and a half. We have friends who moved here in the fall, knowing that they would only be here for 5 or 6 months. And what did they do? They painted all their walls, they hung pictures, they decorated, they made it their home for the time they were there. A much better approach, I think.
    So, buy plants, paint walls, and live in today. Hope for tomorrow, but live in today.

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