At my age and after five children, my heart still has the capacity to be broken by a ‘lie’ that my parents told me.
My parents, both keen gardeners, keep on telling me that EVERYTHING grows. There’s the potential for growth in every seed, in every life. They have shown me, throughout the years, of dying plants reinvigorating, of dormant seeds bursting into glorious life. There’s nothing that couldn’t grow, given the chance – that’s their mantra.
My parents’ garden:
But after a lifetime of struggling with emotional growth (I am a high functioning autistic), I am tired of hoping for that growth to happen. I will have to accept that not everything grows. That’s how life is.
This was my orchid plant that my neighbour gave me when I moved in.
After its flowering period, my mother gave me advice about cutting the stalk, something about cutting it three nodes down or something like that. “Keep looking after it, Jacq. That’s when plants and people need nurturing most, when they’ve gone to root.”
Well, that orchid died. Despite getting fed with the right food and watered with the right amount of water, and commandeering a nice sunny spot by my window, it still dried up and died. I finally gave up on it. It coincided with a seismic emotional shift in my life, when I realised that I do not have the capacity to make sense, understand, feel and process some very basic human words if emotions are involved – this has cost me dear. But I just have to accept that some things simply will not grow, not even with the best intention.
And then I saw the thriving houseplant that Woy casually stuck in some earth three weeks ago, that I repotted the previous week because it was growing so well.
Sitting by the patio door on this gloomy London morning, it’s beautiful, reminding me of the day we went for a long walk and he rescued this plant from the rubbish skip by taking some cuttings. I still remember that glorious September late afternoon he stuck the cuttings into a jar whilst he made vodka and coke for us.
“How did you manage to make that grow?” I asked him in wonder.
He shrugged. “It’s easy.” Then laughing, he joked, “In summer, we can make money selling plants and give up our jobs in the City!”
One of the loveliest traits about him is his vibrancy, his affirmation of life. I am drawn to his strong light, his sureness, sometimes very much against my will. But when you have nothing on a dark day, it is good to believe.
So today, tentatively, I began to believe a little again. I took a couple of cuttings and stuck them in some water with plant food. And isn’t this life? We get knocked back, but love pulls us up again, to try again <3.
Main photo: Dreamstime