Plants have always been a little scary to me.
Not all plants, mind you. I like to roll around in the grass. I eat bananas. I’m cool with the neighbor’s flowers and my mom’s sweet peppers (more than cool with those, actually).No, I’ve been scared of owning a plant, of being responsible for one.
What if it doesn’t grow or produce fruit? Would that reflect on me as a human?
What if I’m not a superstar gardener like my mom, my sister, my boyfriend?
What if I pour all my love and devotion to this thing, and it dies on me?
So, I avoided buying plants of my own and just appreciated the greenery of thers. This was a comfortable lifestyle for me, no worries or fears. As they say: “the unaimed arrow never misses.”
But a few weeks ago, Vilai gifted me with a pot of cilantro.
“your porch is too bare” he says.
“You can make pico with it” he says.
I took it nervously with a “thank you babe.”
I felt like I should try to keep it alive to make Vilai proud. I watered it every day, and at times even took it out of the shade of our porch and into the sunshine (so it could photosynthesize the CO2!!). But I really only cared for cilantropot out of a sense of obligation and not out of love.
But yesterday, something really clicked within me.
I had put cilantropot in the stairwell, where he could eat some sun, and was going back to check on him. When I returned to him, I noticed something extraordinary! He had moved. His little planty-tendril self had extended through the rail so he could catch every last ray of sun as it passed over him.
Guys, this cilantro is alive! Does it have feelings? no. Does it have a soul? nada. But it gets hungry and thirsty, and that’s something I can relate to! It is living, and it depends on me.
For some reason, seeing that cilantro strive for the sunlight brought that realization home for me. Maternal Ruthie clicked right onto that cilantropot.
This cilantro needs me, and I’m going to take care of it with joy, gosh darn it!
And then I’ll eat it.