I find myself working on about a dozen or so unrelated tasks throughout each day. I usually stop what I’m doing half way through a thing and drift listlessly to another without even realizing it. It is the mode of this year, and I think I’ve acclimated to it pretty well.
Today was slightly unusual. My wanderlust led me to pouring cactus soil into IKEA packaging as a stressed effort to save a handful of dwindling succulent saplings Mark brought home from the bargain bin at Smith’s.
The saplings aren’t new. They’ve been in the kitchen for a time receiving water and sun while we’ve tried nursing them from the condition we received them in. Recently though, they apparently took a turn for the worst and neither of us had noticed.
Their sagging limbs hung over layers of withered leaves that had tried to take hold, but failed for one reason or another; likely due to insufficient space, or nutrients, or sun. They just weren’t getting what they needed and seemed to have finally given up.
I don’t remember what I was doing before I noticed their dire state and ran around the entire house three times in search of something to transplant them into. I stopped what I was doing because nothing was remotely as important as transferring these tiny lives so they could start healing… or growing.
As I slid the nuggets of dried, matted, root systems from the vessels the saplings were choked within, the clumps of brittle dead leaves broke free revealing the layers of “manager’s special” stickers the store had slapped on the outside of them. Seeing those brought me to a dead stop.
The concept of an actual life being sold for 25 cents because no one wanted it made me lose my shit into tears. So there I was standing on the patio with my hands covered in dirt holding a dying plant while cursing the void through my teeth.
There is so very much to unpack about this. I know I’m projecting my own frustrations with the world onto a plant from the bargain bin- but damn. Not for a while has an analogue for something felt so miserably on point.
I don’t really feel like spelling out what this means to me. Maybe, it’s obvious, I don’t know. I feel the pit of it burning in my chest right now as I’m writing this. I feel a lot these days. Right now, this is mostly disgust at misplaced values, and our cultural disregard for the well-being of others. I can’t do anything to fix it either.
I hope my saplings make it. I have another story about a rose plant I tried to save from earlier this year that I never published, much due to the scattermindedness I described earlier. I want this to turn out better.