Thursday, September 29, 2005


I have a Boston fern.

Maybe prized possession is too strong a word, but it’s the first one that comes to mind.
If my house was burning to the ground, I would probably save the signed, first edition Vonnegut before the fern. But only because it’s a signed first edition Vonnegut.

True story: I rescued the fern from Ikea. It was hanging out of place on a bin full of something cheap and deceptively functional. I was buying a bookcase called a Flärke. Sadly, the bookcase was not large enough to meet my needs and it now resides, partially disassembled, in the garage. Like nearly everything in my life, I felt obliged to keep this plant, though teetering on the edge of sickly, wanted by nobody, abandoned somewhere near checkout #327.

It was rocky at first, things got worse before they got better.

But we made it through, my fern and I.
I spray it with water several times a day, before I leave for work and after I come home. It spends all day photosynthesizing in my sunny room while I am at work.
I admire the delicate spiral of its unfurling leaves and trim away the dried dead leaves.

I transplanted it to a bigger pot and thought for sure it would start to wilt, at least temporarily. Instead it sent out a few more of its little bright green curls, aching to open themselves into the bright new world.

Its soft, verdant defiance makes my heart burst with pride.

Like my frog and my rats, I snatched my fern from the gapping maw of Death.
But more than merely keeping it alive and healthy, the fern had to be nursed back to health.

What was once sickly yellow is now stubbornly alive.

A thing I have not killed.
Ruined beyond repair.

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