When I was 21 I did something rash – I moved over 800 miles away from home to the PNW. It took several trips driving back and forth in a borrowed van which spewed oil out the back. During one of the trips, I managed to pack in a shoot from my step-father’s Snake Plant aka Mother-in-Laws-Tongue.
Years have gone by, 20 to be precise, and the plant has gone from doing phenomenal, outgrowing pot after pot, flowering once a year if not more – to only filling 1/4 of the pot and smelling somewhat questionable. I was being a little dramatic about it at first: Is this a sign? Am I witnessing a physical symptom of my marriage? Which incidentally is also 20 years old. I mean with a name like “Mother-in-Laws-Tongue, who wouldn’t question it? After all, in Africa they use this plant to ward off evil spirits. So if it dies, doesn’t it follow that our relationship is in jeopardy?
When these thoughts start running through my head I’ll more often than not start questioning everything in my life. Months will go by, cranky me tearing everything apart, from relationship issues to boxes of stored crap. This is when GoodWill becomes a weekly stop, and when I wish the dump gave punch cards for frequent visitors. When the dust settles, I’ll look around and see what was underneath it all. The foundation we’ve built over the years, the family we’ve made, the tiny house we live in. It’s been there all along, but it was obscured by the negative energy that had been storing up and was now at least partially purged. There always will be more crap to sort through, I’ll never be done with that I realize now. But the plant?
I guess it could be the negative energy, if you believe in that new age stuff. Or we could rely on simple facts and listen to the internet’s version of an expert: according to Wikipedia it’s susceptible to over-watering, and rots easily in such scenarios. Whatever the cause we’ll repot it with some fresh soil hoping to make it happier. As for the relationship, it’s a work in progress. We’ll go months without uttering a single word resembling “date” or “you look nice” or even “it’s Wednesday night”. Quite the opposite of my plants condition, the proverbial dry spell everyone goes through. And then something will happen. Maybe an act of divine providence, maybe not. But the ultimate result is that we’ll wake up one morning and look at each other and go “Oh yeah, I remember you.” – and it’s all right again.
The van that brought the plant up here has long since been put to rest, and I’m getting too old for rash moves and starting new. The Mother-In-Laws-Tongue has been given an ultimatum; it better get it’s smelly act together or else. I can’t help but feel a little sorry for it though. When your 800 + miles away from your roots, does it make it harder to sustain momentum? Ah, there’s a topic for another blog. Until next time.