jacktellslies: (ladies)
I've finally met one of my neighbours, a girl of perhaps sixteen.

"What is that? Is that mistletoe?" she asked as I locked my door behind me.

Looking up at the rather large sprig I'd tied to my lamp, I told her, "No, it's boxwood."

"What's that?"

"It's a hedge. It's... another kind of plant."

"Oh. Not mistletoe?"

"Oh! Well, no, but if anyone cares to use it as such, then by all means."

"Good, because I have been all week."

"Ha! Excellent! Fabulous. Cheers." And with that, I was off.

Children have been kissing on my front steps! I'm most pleased.
jacktellslies: (bee)
I constantly think that I'm killing my plants.

It doesn't help at all that one of them is exceptionally dramatic. It seems to be completely shrivelled and dead. I water it. It is content and upright within the hour. Days later, it faints again. I move it closer to the window. It rises and preens. The next day it feels too close to the heat and coughs like a prissy aristocrat. Ignored, it huffs and flops down in its pot. I move it a few feet away. It looks at me as if disappointed and gestures towards the sewing table. I set it down. It starts to sit up but in doing so realises that it would much rather be three inches to the left. It pretends to plunge a dagger into its pink and green heart. I yawn and readjust it. It stands and performs a waltz before demanding to be watered again. It's a terrible plant, and, unfortunately, it's theatrics have succeeded: I adore it.

However, with some regularity I despair upon finding too many brown leaves, a withered stalk. And every time I'm utterly astonished to find a shock of green, four inches of new growth gathering at the centre in clumps.

I was born and raised in cities (heaven be praised!) so sometimes I forget that these metaphors of life and death have their tenors.
jacktellslies: (bee)
I'm more than a little bit infatuated with aloe plants. As a child, learning to heal small burns with a plant helped a good deal when the savages and the gypsies never bothered to kidnap me and teach me their ways.

The aloe plant that lives with me just now is one that I found in the trash. It was brown and sick and on top of a chair that I was taking, and in a perfectly reasonable pot, so I planned to carry the whole lot home and discard of the dead thing there. I watered it once, just in case, and the whole thing sprung back to life. We've been friends since. It is a whole mess of separate little plants, it seems. It's all very bushy and spindly and a pale, glowing green.

Last night I was at my mum's house for our Saint Patrick's day traditions, the slaughtering of the pig and the ruining of the Irish coffee and what have you. I was investigating her plants, as this time of year I'm able to think of little else besides green things, and I found the most magnificent aloe I'd ever seen. It seemed to be all one big, thick stalk, and maybe four others, each increasingly smaller and slowly circling inwards, like a partially opened fan. It was a deep, growling green. It was almost prehistoric. And, I was informed, it was my plant, Seamus! I got it when I first went away to college, but my roommate pummeled it so often with the curtains that I feared for its life. It used to be a tiny thing. I'm so proud. When I have more windows, one day, I'll steal him away.
jacktellslies: (circusfolk)
It is Monday, and, at last! the Winter Moon.

I found my favourite book, Myths and Legends of Flowers, Trees, Fruits, and Plants, by Charles M. Skinner, in the used book shop in the Italian Market. I know it to be my favourite book, despite the fact that I'm not yet past the ash tree in a mostly alphabetical volume. Proof:

We who eat and wear and smoke the plants and drink their sap and juices find in them not only sustenance and shelter, but dreams, medicine, and death; the sharpening and dulling of our nerves; support for the weak and refreshment for the fainting. We find, moreover, oblivion and inspiration... Few, if any, races have escaped the influence of narcotics and stimulants, and inconsistent though it seem, those who do with the least of them are not the most progressive peoples. The Chinese smoke opium, it is true, and the Indians tobacco, but civilized man has accustomed himself to opium, tobacco, wine, tea, coffee, and cocaine.

Does anyone else play with del.icio.us? I am quite new.


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