I wondered the other day what houseplants look like in their natural environments.
It wasn’t unlike that thing you do at the zoo when you walk up to, say, the lion cage which is much smaller than it seems like it should be, and you imagine that lazy cat stalking an antelope in the vast open of a desert. That’s what I did except with a philodendron. I wondered what it would look like in the wild because of course plants didn’t originate, individually potted in the local greenhouse down the street. It took me a few different tries on Google, but shout-out to Bob Vila who was very helpful in this particular quest for knowledge.
Speaking of zoos, we went to the zoo this summer, and I really did think the lion cage was too small. This was right before we made our way over to the sea lion tank—the only part of the zoo Sawyer cared about. He asked me every two minutes if we could go see the seals and could not keep from running from one exhibit to the next just to try to get there faster. He could not focus or care about any other animal so, of course, we found the sea lion tank completely empty—save one zookeeper with rubber boots and a power sprayer. The tears were immediate. His plans were dashed, and he struggled to recalibrate. He did though, which is more than I can say for myself sometimes.
In other houseplant-related news, my friend Breanna sent me a video of one of her sansevieria plants the other day because in between Parks and Rec gifs and text messages about the Kansas City Chiefs, we like to keep each other updated on the growth of our plants. In a separate video, I watched a leaf on her blushing philodendrons unfurl and we were both completely riveted by the tiny movement. Like, we both actively stopped what we were doing to watch a 43-second clip in which barely anything happened.
DID YOU SEE THAT?! she texted.
YOU KNOW THIS IS THE KIND OF CONTENT I LIVE FOR, I responded.
Can I be honest about something? It drives me crazy when people ask, “Can I be honest?” I’m tempted to do this in my writing often—employ the word “honestly” as a transitory device—but why would that even need to be said? What good are any of my words if they aren’t, at their core, honest?
One more thing about houseplants: When mine die, I refuse to feel disappointed or upset or guilty about it. Maybe this is a small act of the practice of recalibration or maybe it is the choice to let my houseplants be a singular source of joy. Honestly, I don’t know. I think I’ll text Breanna about it.
When Callie Feyen and Rachel Nevergall proposed a writing challenge called “The Darling Files,” I was in. I found most of this already composed late last June in a folder titled “scraps” and was happy to give my meandering thoughts a home without overthinking any of it.