Savannah, Georgia got its first freeze in early November this year, and we all felt for the creatures rushing to find refuge. Tiny lizards the size of my thumb moved their digs from the ‘Walter’s’ viburnum and ‘Limelight’ hydrangeas to the tightly packed ferns beneath the shade cloth. The only pollinators that had become so plentiful at the arrival of snapdragons were also watching the sunlight change. The pollen sacks on the legs of the honeybees were bulging like chaps on a cowboy. It would be converted to honey and added to the stash necessary to feed a colony of around 60,000 through winter.
This part of the yearly cycle left me a little blue. Plants and bugs had opened me up all summer long. My intuitive abilities had expanded, and I had found purpose. While some psychics find their meaning in the stars, I’d found magic and meaning in seed pods and fern spores. It was bumpy at first. At the start of the summer I accidentally killed a tree frog and gecko while shoving pots and plant trays around. No more though. We were in sync. The dragonflies came. A wasp tearing into a caterpillar dropped its head on my hand as I watered petunias. It was too heavy for him to carry, but it was a gift just the same. Even the yellow jackets that got drunk and sleepy on camellia pollen were charming. They were dusty with their golden food source, and who couldn’t see the comparison between their face washing and mine?
My communions with the very small were becoming rarer, and so I waited for whatever else spirit wanted to reveal. I hoped it would be good. Where would the magic show up? What I wanted was to feel like I was doing a spiritual job, but the lesson of that Buddhist priest from earlier in the year came back.
Stop striving. It doesn’t feel good. Be. Accept yourself, and be yourself without fear. Remember that. You can only work at your best when you are the YOUest you. If others don’t like it, maybe they aren’t supposed to. Trust YOU. Liking everything we encounter doesn’t foster anything but the same.
I sighed. I’d have to start paying attention to my interactions with humans. Reacting wasn’t enough. I had to stop making my energy the consequence of others. I had to hold my own vibration as well-dressed women agonized over finding two identical poinsettias. I had to ground myself as people asked too much or vented or left me feeling – wait. Stop receiving. Give. Give, and see what happens.
There was the story of this peace lily. I first saw it on a customer’s cell phone. “I got this when my son died in 1994,” he said. His wife had cared for it until she had a stroke 12 years later. She passed away a few years ago, and now it was struggling. Imagine placing the love of your wife and child into a peace lily. He was determined to keep it alive but was failing.
I wanted to say, “Peace lilies are pricks, needy, hard to please, and poisonous rat-bastards who don’t deserve your time.” You know, to take the pressure off of him. Instead I told him he deserved a medal, and I would repot it for him. I joked on Facebook that I was praying to God, Enya, and the Liv Tyler character in Lord of the Rings that I didn’t encourage its passing.
The next morning, he showed up with the plant. I took it from him, like a nurse sweeping a patient into an exam room. Too much water. Poor drainage. Rotting roots. Lots of love in the wrong form. When he picked it up the next day, I had it in a new container with a bow (on me), and a tag that said, “Let Heaven and Nature sing.” He was thrilled, and we finally introduced ourselves. I told him my name is Christine. “That was my wife’s name,” he said. The next day he brought me pralines.