Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Five Minute Miracle

Sharon Wildwind
2008 August
I am not going to save this tiny cast-off leaf I found on the floor at work. It’s hardly bigger than the nail on my little finger. It would never survive.

2008 October
This year I am absolutely not going to bring anything in from the garden. Especially not that aloe vera plant. I mean that thing is so old that I’d need genealogy software to track how many generations of cuttings that thing is from the original plant. Besides, it already has a couple of frost-nipped spots. It would never recover.

2008 November
These seeds I saved from the marigolds heads would probably never sprout. Don’t they treat these things to be sterile, so you have to buy more seeds next year?

2009 January
Oh, look, this avocado seed has a split in it. Hmm, I can’t see even a hint of root down inside. Every time I plant an avocado seed, it never sprouts. Why bother?

2009 February
Shoot, I knew we should have eaten this sweet potato sooner. Look at all of those ugly white sprouts coming out of it. Looks like something from another planet. I wonder what would happen if I gave it a little sunlight?

One table-top garden made up of bits and pieces that I never thought would survive. But what the heck, dirt and water and sunshine are cheap, and you never know, do you? The rescued Snow White poinsettia in the middle may have been a mistake. It isn’t looking good, but you know, I swear there is one miniscule leaf bud down there close to the soil line. Why don’t we just give it a a few more days and see.

Last week, I came across a phrase that I’d learned once, but forgotten and I was glad to see it because it was something I needed to hear again: Don’t give up five minutes before the miracle. Whatever we’re hoping for next in our writing careers, whether it be an agent or a publisher or the breakout novel or maybe just that next paragraph, we must not give up. We are all growing our own table-top gardens.

Why wait for Saturday? Let’s spend this whole week celebrating love, hope, joy, and peace. Happy Valentine’s Day.


Elizabeth Zelvin said...

What a lovely post, Sharon. I've had philodendrons....and "Don't quit five minutes before the miracle" was my mantra, along with "Talent, persistence, and luck," in the six years between finishing my first draft and the launch of my first mystery. It was a loooong five minutes, but I'm glad I hung in there.

Kathryn Lilley said...

Aw, I love that post, Sharon. My plants are packing their roots and demanding to go to your house!

Lonnie Cruse said...

Yes, indeedy, Sharon, lovely post. And I'm very proud that my red poinsettia that I got as a gift BEFORE Christmas is still alive. Maybe because I'm ignoring it? Anyhow, this is a record for me. And I love sweet potato vines.

Julia Buckley said...

This is lovely. And what a message it sends about you and your willingness to save things.

Anonymous said...

I loved the post. I'm always bringing in bits and pieces and trying to save them. It doesn't always work. However, I've got a loquat tree that's taller than me by the back door. I was sitting on the steps eating a loquat and spitting the seeds out onto the grass. Loquats have big seeds! Now I have this volunteer. I have to keep trimming it so it doesn't grow under the porch.

Try sprouting your avacados by sticking some toothpicks into the seed and suspending it, flat side down over water. It's OK to let it touch the water a bit, but don't submerse it. Once it has some leaves and some healthy roots, you can put it in the garden or a pot. (If you live in a mild climate, that is.)


Sandra Parshall said...

I have wondered sometimes why people, including myself, try so hard to save failing houseplants when we have no qualms about "killing" and eating broccoli, carrots, etc. Does broccoli feel no pain? Do carrots not value their existence?

Well, whatever. Some of our houseplants are so old that I can't remember when I bought them. They seem to have been part of my life forever. I have a hoya carnosa (which produces abundant umbrels of waxy little flowers) that is at least three times the age of our two seven-year-old cats.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Ah, Sharon. You always arrive just at exactly the right time.

Don't give up five minutes before the miracle--thank you.

And my holiday amaryllis--is finally about to bloom! (I can't help but think when it does--it's a portent. Maybe for someone here at PDD!)


Anonymous said...

Thanks, everyone. We seem to have a lot of plant lovers out there. It sounds like we all have a favorite plant and a long-living (or volunteer) plant, and I suspect they are often not the same plant.

I had a spider plant once that lasted so long I was afraid I'd have to apply for Social Security for it.

Hugs and grow green!

Chester Campbell said...

I enjoyed the discussion of plants. Some years ago I tended to a bunch of flowers every summer. Since then I've moved to a smaller house with hardly any lot and don't get around to planting much. But we have a shamrock that I swear has hair grayer than mine. Now and then it dies down to nearly nothing, particularly if we've been away. But a little water and it takes on a whole new life. Love that "don't quit five minutes before the miracle."