Welcome to For Your Consideration, a new series about things we love and love to do — and we’d like to give you permission to embrace your authentic self and love them too.
No, this is a good idea. Buy another houseplant. You’re already out, running errands. There are plants and here you are, near them. This pothos would look so cozy in the matte white clay planter, the one with the cable knit design. It’s 15% off today. You’ve been meaning to try macrame again, and the string of pearls thriving next to the spider plant over there is the perfect size for a beginner-level macrame plant holder. Imagine yourself propagating the string of pearls for a friend. You can give it to her in the boob planter you bought on Etsy. Buy another houseplant. Buy three.
This is hope that you feel, a hope that you’ve changed, somehow. That you’ve learned from past mistakes and have gained knowledge, like a Sims character reading book after book after book, her diamond filling with the facts and know-how that will take her to Level 2: Gardener. You are a being capable of learning, and of hoping. This isn’t belief so much as it is faith, and hope of course. Get another bag of soil.
Joy, If Fleeting
Put the plant into its container when you arrive home. You chose the container especially for this plant. It is a perfect fit. The ratio of tall to squat created by the plant inside the container is literally perfect. They — the plant and the container, together — coordinate beautifully with your home. A marriage of trendy and timeless. The sunlight hitting the leaves, the glimpse you catch of the two of them, plant and container, while you’re walking toward the kitchen, the way you imagine you must look with your watering can in the afternoon. This is joy.
Something tangible ties you to this mortal plane, and it is this houseplant. It needs you, needs water and pruning, needs vigilance. You will water and prune this plant. You’ll be vigilant about preventing pests from infesting and pets from chewing and small children from pulling or pushing and large boxes from toppling. You will open these drapes, here, so the sunlight can find its way to your object of responsibility.
Passage of Time
What day of what week is it now? You know. You know because it has been this many days since you last watered your houseplant, and this many days lie ahead of you until you will water it again. It has been this many weeks (entire weeks!) since you brought your houseplant home, which is this many weeks more or less than the last plant lived after its arrival. You are a shepherd of time in this space. You keep it and see it.
Breathe deep. The air is cleaner than it was before, thanks to your newest houseplant. Your air is cleaner. If you stepped outside your door and walked a distance and opened someone else’s door, would their air be this clean? Well that depends, doesn’t it, on how many houseplants they have. It’s likely your air is cleaner than theirs, though. Look at your houseplants.
It’s the economy, stupid. You know that. You know that when you receive money and then spend that money, you are bolstering the economy. You’re doing your part to keep businesses running, workers working. Each houseplant in your home, each houseplant hoping to be revived by the sunlight, each houseplant hoping to be saved by the shadows, each houseplant draining its water into a sink, each houseplant whose soil goes untended, represents a time when you have contributed to the economy. Be proud of your contributions.
Think about the day of the week, the week of the month, of the year. How long did this one last? This houseplant’s life was shorter than that houseplant’s, and longer than this one’s. It was just last week when you pruned it, you’ll note later, and maybe it was the pruning that sealed its fate. Was it too much access to sunlight? Could the culprit be in the type of soil you used. Does soil go bad. Did you go bad? No. No, you did not. You keep the lesson, vague as it may be at this moment, and you let go of the guilt. You let go of this houseplant.
Acceptance of Limits Even As You Push Them
What are you capable of in this life? What are your limitations, both imagined and enforced? What can you do? You know what you can do. You can contribute to an economy. You can mark the passage of time. You can breathe. You can imagine your life as a scene in a Nora Ephron film. You can find hope where others wouldn’t. You cannot, however, keep a houseplant alive. And you know. You know this.