Consider the Lilies
When I bought this Boston Fern several years ago,
I wasn’t really expecting for it to last as long as it has.
“Careful,” the woman at the hardware store told me on my way out. “They’re very temperamental. Better not touch it too much, don’t let the fronds rest on anything (they hate that, and will probably die), just hang it somewhere out-of-the-way and keep it watered.”
“Those are hard to take care of,” my friends told me. “Try not to let the fronds touch anything,” they said.
Since my track record for plants succumbing to a slow and painful demise in my presence was pretty much 100% I was pretty sure it was only a matter of time. After all, consider the Peace Lily–mine neither complains nor weeps, yet after five years with me it’s an anemic nervous wreck.
Apparently, Peace Lilies are practically impossible to destroy. Which is why they’re considered the perfect plant for the ‘houseplant challenged.’ Which is also why there are some things about my life I just don’t get.
Since I figured the fern’s days were numbered anyway I subjected it to the usual abuse and neglect: days without rain followed by the requisite drenching downpour. Just the conditions Peace Lilies are supposed to thrive under, by the way. I plunked it right on top of my hutch and let the fronds fondle the edges.
I shake it out when I notice brown leaves and fluff it up when I get the whim. I take it down regularly and give it a thorough soaking and shaking, then plop it back on top again–all the while letting its gorgeous green talons brush up against walls and countertops, and not to mention, me. And what do I get for it? It loves me!
In fact, most of the pot is completely overtaken with amorous feelings (and roots) and it’s still thriving. Maybe ferns are just sick and tired of people mollycoddling them. Maybe they want to be treated like everybody else.
And that has me thinking about some of the relationships in my life. Maybe I’ve just mollycoddled the life right out of them. I just can’t figure out where I went wrong, but, thank God I’m surrounded by so many finicky ferns flourishing despite all the shaking they get sometimes. And, I still have those gorgeous Ivies.
Guess that’s the thing about relationships–sometimes it’s not about how careful we are to keep them from dying. Sometimes it’s all about just letting them be.