Is it just me or does Valentine’s Day seem like a really long time ago?
Was it only one month? Four weeks exactly…on February 14th…when my husband handed me this stunning bouquet of six yellow roses?
Happy Valentine’s Day! We tried to figure out how many Valentine’s Days we had spent together, but settled on “over 40…”
Since that day, my life has taken off on an alternate trajectory. Or so it seems.
The morning of the 15th we discovered water had leaked into our bathroom from the condo above us. Our upstairs neighbor left her faucet running unattended into a clogged sink. Water poured through our bathroom ceiling. In condo land, she isn’t held financially responsible. And so it began…the reports…phone calls…repairs…cleanup…costs. The worry about mold. The hours I’ll never get back. Finished just yesterday.
There was a happy four day interlude during a trip – which may be my last one for a long while – to Washington DC to spend time with my children and grandson.
Reports of a new virus started popping up in the news during that visit – the 3rd week of February – but I paid it no mind. That’s happening in China after all.
Then a week ago, news of a crisis affecting one of my sisters activated an intense worry-filled texting chain and phone calls with extended family I had not been in close touch with for many years. However, as many of us realize, a crisis – a matter of life and death crisis – can open a space and lower boundaries – at least for a while. Because…it’s family and you love them. We reach across the divide…anxiously searching for answers. Solutions. Each day and night fraught with worry. Feeling helpless and intermittently hopeless. Emotional support can only do so much.
Today is looking somewhat brighter. Hopefully her crisis has passed enough to be manageable. For now. We cautiously breathe just a bit easier.
The texting chain has now switched to the coronavirus and its affect on all of our lives. Another serious and potentially deadly situation. More anxiety piles on.
Sixty four texts greeted me this morning filled with humorous memes, cartoons and reports of people searching for toilet paper. Long lines at the grocery store. Stockpiling in case of quarantine. The family texting chain continues. Desperate for connection. In a new crisis.
Towards the end of February and the beginning of March, I always looked for signs of crocuses in our front yard. A first sign of Spring. After tramping through the soggy grass, I’d discover them poking up out of the ground despite the cold weather or lingering patches of snow. It wasn’t long before they were in full bloom.
A family of crocuses appeared every March right next to the maple tree. A hardy little bunch, they managed to muscle their way through massive amounts of roots, thatch, rock hard soil and mulch. Year after year.
No gardening effort required on my part.
I liked that.
It is cold…
And rainy (yes rainy).
Snow covered ground outside my window.
Clouds. Gray sky.
A black and white day.
Recipe for gloom.
Except for my…
The miracle plant. Back from the dead.
The phoenix rising.
My first – and only – Christmas cactus.
I brought her (I’ve decided she is female) home 20 years ago. A Christmas gift from a patient who faithfully arrived weekly for weight checks and diet advice. My former job in my former life.
Ms. Cactus hid her true glory for years. Alternately near death…yellowed leaves withering and dropping off onto the living room floor. To be sucked up by the vacuum cleaner. Or mashed in the carpet by a teenager clomping across the room.
Even though nutrition was the centerpiece of my professional career, I often overlooked…plant food…on a regular basis. Perhaps because I was otherwise occupied with a job, kids, house and such. Feeding the family…remembered that.
For years she just sat there getting dusty – sprouting no buds – no matter what I did. Houseplant books never agreed. The internet couldn’t decide either. I pruned. I overwatered. A branch broke off. I under watered. Changed locations: bookshelf…garden window…coffee table…side table…. No luck. No color.
Maybe because it’s a cactus…which would imply it is meant to somehow grow and thrive in the desert…explains why it hung on.
And then we moved.
My cactus flowered somewhat at our beach rental 2 years ago, crammed in the corner of the tiny living room.
And then nothing.
Last year, a few blooms randomly appeared.
Now…right in the middle of January…when I needed it most…Ms. Cactus exploded in color. And has rightfully earned a place of honor on the kitchen table (when not posing for pictures).
One happy plant. Looking pretty good for the old age of twenty.
Downsizing to this condo apparently was just what she needed.
Less sunlight means catch it when I can.
Which I did this morning.
My Bougainvillea plant (thanks to blogger AYR for helping identify it from a previous post) plays dead for weeks at a time.
Flowerless for the past month or so.
Despite sitting right next to a window.
No matter what I did.
I fed it some fertilizer a week or so ago and just let it be.
This past week, it surprised me once again by bursting into bloom. Just when I needed some color…
to filter and bounce shadows in the morning sun.