Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Ficus That Loves Me

While moving into my apartment in Grandview in the fall of 1996, I was out at one of the big box stores, buying light bulbs or returning the wrong size window blinds (or something equally errand-y), when I impulse-bought a small potted ficus tree.

I knew nothing of plants. Even having grown up the daughter of an avid gardener, my knowledge and experience was embarrassingly low. Still, something compelled me and I heaved it into my cart filled with items for my new place.

Over the years, I've bought other plants, a spider plant here, an adopted aloe plant there. But they never lasted. The cat ate one, another simply refused to grow roots and could be lifted in and out of the pot at will, and another required more water than I could consistently remember to provide. But ficus has thrived.

It survived my time at COSI (where I worked 18-hour days for two solid months and once left glass from a shattered ceiling fan on my bedroom floor for four days). It survived the move to my home where I placed it in the middle of the large picture window, with the same sun it received in the apartment. At Christmas, I adorn it with a single strand of lights and top it with a Santa hat left over from college.

What I love most about the tree is it's gentle forgiveness. It doesn't require me to work for its reward. When I remember to prune it back, tiny leaves grow in and impress me; when I don't, it doesn't punish me. The other day, my friend Brooke, while waiting on me to go for a walk, wondered allowed if maybe the pot was too small. It took me a week and a half of thinking about it, purchasing (and then returning) a pot way too big, and inquiring about the right type of potting soil, but I finally got the plant settled into it's new digs.

Tonight I spread out newspaper and carefully went about my first-ever plant transplant. I've seen my mother perform dozens of these over the years and never once considered its point beyond an obligated task. But it felt good to do something for my ficus. A long over-due thank you of sorts.

Makes me consider getting another plant. But I probably won't anytime soon.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Running to Stand Still

In a few hours a mini-van filled with writers will arrive in my driveway and swoop me away for a long weekend of reading and writing and generalized mixture of comraderie and solitude.

I've been looking forward to it all week. Well, longer than that, but the anticipation has ramped up considerably in tandem with a busy schedule full of unknowns.

It's no secret that I've been looking for consistent work for quite some time. For my whole adult life it sometimes seems, but, of course that's not quite an accurate perspective, just how I feel in the moment. However, in the past week, I've been in the early first-interview stages of three opportunites with great potential. As I've been busy juggling all of the proverbial balls and exhausting myself with the "what if" game, I've been itching to get my butt in on a porch swing and comb over comments from my manuscript.

The retreat place is a large former "hunting cabin" set up with a large living space and several small rooms with single beds and sinks. There is a large kitchen and dining area for leisurely meals, and, best of all, that sprawling back porch overlooking a creek. Last year we spent most of our time on that porch; quite a sight, all those open laptops among the trees.

But first I need to finish my lengthy to-do list...