I haven't had a house plant in over 15 years. The last one I remember having was a giant spider plant. I loved it's spiky leaves and the multiple shades of green but our cat always tried to sit in it, kicking dirt everywhere in the process, and our toddler constantly tried to pull it off the plant stand. When it became unruly and some of the leaves became slightly rusted, I couldn't take it anymore. In a frustration-fueled, Type A plant rage, I pulled all the leaves up into a bunch and cut them off with scissors. Basically, I gave it a crew cut. Then, I set it outside...in the dead of winter...in Minnesota. RIP spider plant.
Lately, however, I've been thinking about getting a plant, a tiny succulent for my desk - not because they've become weirdly popular but because they are small and tidy and manageable. My desk is by a window and I spend a fair amount of time at my desk so I wouldn't forget to take care of it and it might bring a little life to my workspace.
Maybe I'm thinking of this because I've noticed more people posting pictures of their plants - succulents and philodendrons and spider plants and orchids and many I can't name. Homes are becoming greener and more alive.
A few months ago, a cat began hanging around our house, a light gray tabby who loved attention, often rolling onto her back and begging for us to pet her. We spent countless hours sitting on the front stoop with her and then we began feeding her and then we started thinking of her as our outdoor cat. As the weather turned colder, we decided to take her in but it wasn't meant to be. She had an owner after all.
We never wanted a second cat. The thought had never even crossed our minds. But the little stray cat opened up something inside of all of us and we realized we wanted another kitty to love. So, we adopted a kitten and she's perfect.
So many people who have adopted pets in recent months - puppies and kittens, dogs and cats. I even have a friend who took in a parrot she found in the park.
We haven't kept a garden in years because we hate weeding and watering. We used to grow tomatoes and giant bushes of basil and every fall, we'd make batches of pesto and pasta sauce to freeze for the winter. I miss it, especially this year. I suggested Luisa stop at the Farmer's Market on her way home to buy basil for pesto. We sit and talk about making fresh ravioli stuffed with cheese and herbs to have in the freezer. I'm learning to bake bread and read articles about yeast.
I find myself saying more often to friends, "The house is kinda messy and I don't have anything fancy to offer but would you like to come over for lunch?" We're already making plans for the holidays, inviting friends and family here for good food, drinks, and conversation. It seems to be the same for others as we are gathering with friends to share meals more often.
We are tending to our plants and gardens, finding animals in need of love, cooking for each other and nurturing the people we love. In these dark times when the world is so unsettled and uncertain, we are all struggling to find the good. We are looking for joy and love and affirmation and finding it in loving even the smallest of living things. Solace and hope together.