The squall in the neighborhood last weekend, though short lived, brought to mind winters past. I was enthused to see the first flakes as I wondered if the grass, still green from summer, felt cold as the snow pelted it or if it simply endured, indifferent to the change of season.
There is a plant in the livingroom that lives in a glass container filled with water. It survived my self imposed “Winter of Cold”, a few years ago. I had been inspired by a friend’s admission that the climate during the winter in his trailer home was not much different than “advanced winter camping”. With my remembered fondness of sleeping in a tent in the snow, along with my pursuit of economy, I kept the thermostats set at 52.
I mated two down filled sleeping bags and used them as a comforter on my bed. During the day, I rambled around the house in down filled outerwear. The olive oil in the kitchen cupboard clouded. My back spasmed frequently. The only other plant in the house died. The dog’s breath was always visible. The few visitors during that winter never took off their coats; even so, no one stayed very long.
Now, having found that keeping the house that cold was a false economy, the thermostats are set more reasonably. Back spasms much less frequently, and, not seeing the dog’s breath makes things feel much more comfortable.
“Is it real? The roots in the water look natural, but the leaves look so perfect, artificial.” said a visitor about the livingroom plant. “That plant looks so happy – it has found it’s window!” said another recently.
I don’t feel that the plant and I have an extraordinarily close relationship. I simply maintain water above it’s roots, and rotate it in front of the window when its’ yearning toward the light postures it asymetrically. Yet, I am grateful it did not die in the “Winter of Cold”, and, given its’ steadfast companionship through dark times, I have developed somewhat of an affection for it.
They say plants like it, benefit, when you talk to them. I can’t really remember ever talking to the plant. I have, however thought at it with gratitude for it’s loyalty, and admiration for it’s capacity and resolve to survive.
Makes me wonder if plants think, or do they respond more to feeling. Some kind of process or intelligence must occur: the plant senses more bright than dark, and somehow adjusts it’s growth, turning it’s leaves, favoring facing the light.
No language, no philosophy, no hidden agenda corrupts this behaviour.
Regardless of other prevailing conditions, plants sense brighter or darker and so grow only toward or away.
A simple way to live; a sure way to thrive.