{ Thursday, June 16, 2005 }

The Fern

Here's what I remember: I was reading. Then I woke up and it was 9:30 in the morning and there was a pillow over my head. (I am supposed to arrive at work at 9 in the morning.) I don't know what went wrong there, and I don't feel as though I had any control over it, but, none-the-less, I failed. Again.

So, again, I ask you all, how do you control your sleeping self enough to wake up in the morning? Because I still can't do it. I mean, I mastered not wetting the bed twenty-some years ago, but other than that, I don't feel like I have any control over what happens when I'm asleep.

If I had been awake, I wouldn't have wanted to get up, but I would have thought about it and remembered that I have a job that requires me to leave my bed, and then I would have gotten up. But I was asleep and so my thoughts apparently got to "I don't want to hear that or deal with all this light. I want to be asleep." and then I put a couple pillows over my head and kept at it.

So, Arizona almost killed Arthur (my asparagus fern). He was hanging out on the patio; I thought he'd be happy there. I was making sure that he got a half gallon or so of water every evening. And then one day, I went to water him and it hit me, This plant is nearly dead.

I panicked. Just before we moved, Arthur was beautiful and giant and green and flowering. Now I was looking at a dried, shrivelled mess. A mess that had been in my family since long before I was born. A mess that had survived being sent as checked luggage in a box on a flight across the country.

And in my panic, I grabbed the fern and carried him inside. I immediately began aggressive pruning. In the living room. Instead of outside where the fern had just been.

When all was said and done, it wasn't looking good for the fern.

Before I went to college, it had been my job to cut things. I was in charge of pruning the bushes out front and cutting the dog's hair. I left and one day Mom mentioned to me that she'd pruned the bushes, and maybe she wasn't so good at it.

I came home, and I saw the bushes. I stifled so much laughter there were tears in my eyes as I asked my mother, how, exactly, she thought the bush might continue to photosynthesise once she had chopped all of the green off of it. "And this one... do you really think that these..... five little tufts of greenery are going to generate enough food for the big bush?"

I tried hard not to laugh at her or talk down to her. I was genuinely curious about what inspired her to do that and what she thought the outcome might be.

The bushes didn't live.

Looking at my fern, I was reminded of those sad, sad twiggy bushes. I kept chopping until everything that was dead or appeared to be dying had been removed.

I am pleased to report that now, several days later, Arthur has gotten with the program. He lives next to a window now, not outside anymore, and he's throwing out new shoots like crazy.

posted by mary ann 8:51 PM