Salty Snippet for June 2021 My Pal, The Red Geranium
My giant red Geranium plant has lived probably longer than most house-gardeners would expect. Back when I lived in Oak Park Illinois I planted her in the ground along the path to the garage. That must have been just one summer, as her kind don’t last outdoors through winter. So – six summers ago she attracted my attention and I took her into my life. As I prepared to move to Indianapolis, it seemed that she leaned towards me whenever I passed. I loved her in her spunky wild beauty and decided to bring her with. I carefully dug her up from the ground, potted her, and she became part of the menagerie that I schlepped along to Indy.
Geraniums are not strong physically; their arms and leaves break easily. She was about a foot high at that point of her life, considered mature, and she made the 200-mile trip alright without much trauma or loss. Now six years later she is a good yard high and wrapped around supports, she’s maybe two feet in diameter. I’ve fed and watered her, given her the best light available as she continued to grow. I talk with her, kiss and hug her (largely), and she’s continued to raise my spirits by popping out with bright red blooms. I address her as “Pal.”
Of late, each morning when I raise the shades and greet her, I’ve noticed increasing numbers of dried dead leaves on her; I pull them off and toss them. I worry at the increase, but all seems well if there are also new leaves appearing – which there are! And she still blooms, especially when she’s had plant food.
Picking off the dead leaves, cutting off the dead flowers, seems healthy so she can focus her energy on the present moment of her life. And I’m surprised to see myself as in a mirror here. I notice these days how the past seems to fade! Being a sentimental person, I hold tenaciously to memories of people, events, experiences – these are the treasures of my life! I can’t believe how far behind and fading are memories that were so vivid and carried power for so long. It’s as if I were walking a path and inevitably getting farther and farther away from the city of Oz.
Yet I feel I’m circling around. I see Oz come up again as I walk along the yellow brick road, as if Oz is also my destination, plus its presence accompanies me. A place, with the same munchkins, to which I come and go and will return.
But – right now there are things happening to attend to! New people, unexpected events, always occurring around me. Also, surprising helpers magically appear, and I must pay attention to all. Many little brown leaves of the past are best dropped by the wayside, experiences that enabled my growth “back then.” They are now inside the bigger me. I don’t need to carry and feed their physical presence while I pay attention to what feeds my life right now. My Pal and I – we keep “walking” on, even while we appear to stay in one place. We grow and bloom where we are – right now.