At Lowe’s this weekend, I wheeled my cart full of rescue plants from the clearance rack in the garden center to seek out more rescues in the houseplant department. An elderly gentleman approached me, indicated my bedraggled looking bounty, and asked with too much skepticism in his soft corduroy voice, “You think those are gonna snap back?”
I was used to my Grandpa being playful and teasing and having fun, so I thrust one skinny arm into the air, gestured affectionately at the plants with my other arm, and replied with too much excitement in my own voice “Yes, I choose to believe!!”
“You think you’re just gonna water ’em and they’ll be ok?”
At this point I blacked out, spiraling into a messy explanation of all the things I might do to revive them, like trimming and soaking and shading and super-thriving, and yes of course watering and singing them Norwegian Wood, trying hard to conceal from someone else’s grandpa my growing dread.
He blinked at me, furrowed his brow and dipped his chin low, then walked away. Did not even say goodbye. Clearly I had misread his tone. So I tried to reconnect with this stranger by calling vaguely toward the back of his sloped shoulders, “They’ll snap back right?” He swiveled his head in an elliptical shape that could have been either an affirming nod or a dismissive shake, I wasn’t sure.
I looked down at my mostly dead growing projects, thought of all the brassica plants already suffering at the farm thanks to selfish, unrepentant chickens, and wondered why I hate myself so much.
On the bright side, we have lots of mulch, and mulch covers a multitude of garden sins.
“There is no medicine like hope,
no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful
as expectation of something better tomorrow.”
-Orison Sweet Marden