Monday, July 28, 2008


I've a good friend who, a few weeks back conspired with me to take a cut of a Wandering Jew plant at Macaroni Grille. I was admiring the rich purple hued plant; a large flower bed outside the restaurant was covered in it, and I mentioned how I'd always wanted a plant Wandering Jew plant. (Who would not want one, with that fantastically apt name-aren't we all wandering Jews?) The next thing I knew, she took a pocket knife from deep in her pocket, and cut a stalk. Awed, I received it, tended to it carefully until I could get it in a vase, and since that day, over a month ago, I've been waiting for roots to sprout. The first few days, I looked every hour I was home to see whether roots were growing. Nothing. A week went by... nothing. Two weeks, no activity then either. I added water to the vase, and when I could endure with it no longer, I forsook the shoot, by putting the vase between the kitchen curtain and the window, out of sight, out of mind.

Two days ago, I pulled back the curtain to find the struggling plant had now grown a trail of roots suspended in water like hair. Glee is the word I find fits best to describe my reaction. It was a sort of forty year period this long month. Mine was the desert, I turned my back on the frail plant, and did not keep my charge. When I observed the wispy growth, my jaw dropped. I was simultaneously convicted of my forgetfulness, and sobered to realize the hearty plant, to this point, did not need my tending to grow. It seems it needed a time away, much like the watched pot begs me to leave before it will boil.

It was I who wandered off to the task of puttering, writing, preparing to leave for work, socializing, or easing into my arrival from a long work day. All that time, utterly abandoned by me, the Jew simply sat, treading water, simmering in the daytime sun, and brooding in the dark of night. Now that the roots have sprung forth, the real risk begins, where to plant this sapling, this young, vibrant life? How to care for her, what to feed, how much light, how much shade. You've probably already guessed this, but what I know about plant-life can be inscribed on the head of a tiny straight pin. So it will be an adventure, more so for the vulnerable plant, than me. We shall see. Wish us well.

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