Monday, April 15, 2013

Plant Rescue

 Earlier this week, I decided to reward myself with a slow browse through the garden section of the local home improvement store.  I have always found being around plants to be an enjoyable experience.  And wandering quietly on my own through garden shops is a soothing way for me to unwind from a long day at work, recenter, and generally just feel more at peace with myself and the world in general.  The prospect of discovering a new leafy green find to bring home just adds to the fun.

At the store, tucked away in the back of the plant section, were two large garbage bins.  They were filled to the top with dead plants, except for one lone Dracaena.  It was lying forlornly on its side on the very top of the pile- still green, still very much alive, but battered, bent and broken.  The bottom two thirds of its leaves were cut off, its top leaves were split and cut as well.  Its two stems were actually bent sideways.  Apparently it had been there mispositioned so long they started growing that way. 

I picked it up out of curiosity, set it on a nearby shelf to look it over, and could practically hear it calling, "Help me, help me please!"  I felt sorry for it, but then shrugged to myself and then set it back on top of the bin.  On top of all of those other dead plants.  I paused.  I picked it up again and set it back on the shelf.  What did I need with this little thing?  I should just leave it be.  But I couldn't walk away.  The thought of leaving a living being behind to suffer and die on top of a pile of fellow plant corpses tugged at my heart strings.  It had a very sweet little energy.

So I picked it up and carried it with me through the store.  I asked a passing employee if it was possible to bring the plant home, explaining that it was bound for the trash, but that I would like to rescue it.  She was friendly, if a bit puzzled by my request, and said she needed to check with her manager.  Well, after about 20 minutes of back and forth over the radio with said manager, who obviously couldn't care less about this entire situation, I was becoming more and more attached to this little green being, and feeling more and more protective of it.  I would not leave it behind, no way!

The difficulty, the employee finally explained, was the way these plants were inventoried.  Dead plants were returned to the supplier for credit, not just thrown away.  But she was kind and wanted to help.  She persisted, and the manager finally said she could sell it to me at a discount, he didn't even care how much.  It was obvious he just wanted to be done with the conversation.  I eventually walked out of that store, 8" Dracaena in hand, for the total cost of $1.66.  It was bone dry, crumpled, but quietly aware and grateful.  I spoke to it gently, of how I would care for it and nurture it, of the place I had waiting for it.  I bought it a beautiful new spring green colored pot, and once home, soaked it with water, freshened and adjusted its leaves, and gave it a place of honor high atop the refrigerator in my kitchen. 

The change in energy was instantly palpable.  Green fronds waving in the air, my little rescue now perches in peaceful cheeriness from its vantage point above, basking in the light, looking down on the smaller houseplants on the counter below.  I smile every time I see it, my new little friend.  There is a sense of joy, of peace, and of happiness.  In the grand scheme of things, this is just one of many house plants.  But for me, it became something more.

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