Saturday, February 3, 2018

Gardening, Resilience, and Pep Talks

I stepped outside this morning, and saw a single, yellow bloom on one of my balcony plants:

This bloom is significant. Three weeks ago, I was sure this plant was going to die. The soil was completely infested with mealybugs. They'd chewed through the roots, and decimated the stalks. I made a snap decision to uproot the whole plant, and replace the soil. I didn't want to wait another day, and had to store the plant overnight in a bag of water. 

My tentative, uninformed foray into balcony gardening is teaching me about the resilience of plants. I was sure this plant was dead, yet here it is, blooming. 

Four years ago today, my cousin died by suicide. I try to write about it every year, in the hope that I will never take a phone call like that again. This year, I want to do something different. 

Last month, my Californian relatives sent us a nice package of goodies. Among the gifts was a box of greeting cards designed by Susan O'Malley. O'Malley was a Bay Area artist, whose work focused on engaging her community, and encouraging people to reach out to others. For one of her projects, she stood on a street and asked people what advice their 80-year-old selves would give them. These greeting cards are their responses. 

I'm an inexperienced gardener, but I'm a talented people watcher. I've watched people adapt to unbelievable circumstances. We all have a large capacity for resilience, but sometimes we need a little extra care to exercise it. In light of that, I'd love to share these Susan O' Malley pep talks. Why don't you pick a card, and I'll send it to you, with a short personal note, telling you why I like you. 

I'm generally realistic about the reach of these posts. In the off-chance that two people ask for the same card, send me a list of the top three cards you'd want to receive, and I'll make an executive decision as to who gets what.

Take care of yourself. And if you're in crisis, please find help. 

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