“Plants do for you what shoes do for me,” says my wife.
I wouldn’t call myself a gardener. I don’t study plant life beyond what I’ve planted. I have no need to memorize horticultural identities. When healthy, plants seem to be at ease with what they are. They don’t need me to remind them. If I like their appearance, they stick around. Otherwise, there’s always more at any given nursery. I guess I view the plants in my garden as pets in a detached sort of way. They serve no purpose, but I need to have them around.
Plants are no more adaptable than humans. They seek what’s most comfortable whether it’s flowering under a high noon sun or tucked in the shade of a fuchsia. They know what they like and don’t do well with change. Plants are like cats. They’re fiercely independent. Just provide water and a familiar home, and they’re yours. We can have a change of heart and come closer to another’s point of view. Plants could care less.
At least they don’t discriminate. Genus and gender mean nothing to plants. They’ve mastered propagation without needing to know their mates. They go about their business without any care for what others are doing. Is this the detachment of oneness that mystics write about?
My patio is my place of indiscriminate worship. I find a comfortable spot and swim in the silence. My eyes attend to the variegations of green and creamy white, the red tipped spindly leaves, the blood red petunias, and snow-topped alyssum. I try to slip into the carefree existence of greenery. Although, it’s hard enough just to emulate the ivy’s contentment.
Yes, I guess plants do for me as shoes do for my wife. She’s elated each time she steps comfortably into an exceptionally stylish pair. They reflect her refined taste. I find my reflection in our garden. Its serenity is what I want to be.