A few months ago, I had a plant disaster which I thought might be the end of all my meager horticultural pursuits. But, yesterday, in a twist I nearly didn’t notice, I saw a tiny, plant-based miracle.
When we moved from Tulsa to Georgia over a year ago, I gave away, or left on the side of the road, all the herbs and succulents I had managed not to kill. In a fit of “making a home” panic, I planted a few fresh herbs for the kitchen window and purchased a small succulent to smile at when I washed dishes. My plants accordingly sprouted and grew and blossomed. I had basil and parsley and aloe and thyme. A student gifted my husband with a Christmas cactus and our little windowsill greenhouse delighted me.
Then, it all came crashing down, literally. I had strung up some of the planters in macrame holders I made myself, proudly, using a tension rod. The tension rod became not so tense, and the bigger pots crashed down on my smaller pots, tipping over the succulent and ripping off some of its leaves. I was disheartened; I loved that little guy and didn’t want him to be dead. So I added some fresh soil and propped up the torn branch and hoped for the best.
I placed the torn away leaves on top of the soil, just like the helpful people on Pinterest showed me. And then I forgot all about it.
For months, I just barely noticed my little plant, the torn limb having healed and begun to grow in millimeters. I left town to run the Chicago Marathon, a fact I think my friends are tiring of, and when I returned home, I realized that no one in my house watered my herbs while I was away. Thusly, they all died. They are shriveled brown shreds of their former selves.
Inspecting closely yesterday and trying to decide what to do with all my dead plants, I took a closer look at the succulent and discovered a bright spot of joy in the barren wilderness of my plant cemetery; the succulents were growing tiny blooms on the leaves.
I had done nothing but left them on the soil. I watered them semi-regularly. Unbeknownst to me, energy and light and processes I don’t understand were flooding through the tiny broken stems and rebuilding the plant.
I could not detect the growth, and had no idea it was even happening, until I spied the little leaf buds.
Isn’t that the way growth works? Any time we set about making a change it can feel like we’re paddling against a current, doing reps or running laps or waking early or getting organized or … or…or… And we don’t notice the small shifts in our bodies, we don’t recognize the invisible changes happening, the muscles growing leaner or speeding up by fractions or lengthening short twitch muscles, feeling less groggy in the afternoon or less clutter. Just because we can’t see the changes happening doesn’t mean that below the surface, light and soil and chemicals and time aren’t doing their work.
Notice those little buds of change. Recognize them for what they are. Embrace the invisible change.