I considered what to do with a plant I had actually kind of loved. No other plants had thrived in my home, except for this one. It lived in my kitchen with me, sitting on the window sill as I cooked and watched the street for the children to come home from school. It had grown lush and full with time, and I was careful to water it regularly. We were, in a way, friends; waiting as the world came and went, sitting in silent comradery, both living and growing in our own specific ways.
I know ... that's a lot of information about a plant. But I'm not losing my mind, fear not!
When I saw her dead, I felt an inner distress and annoyance; it occured to me that perhaps she was mirroring the way I felt inside. Fern had given up; and what was I to do about it? Throw her out? In that split second, in that sliver of a moment, I decided what I would do (and believe me when I say my resolve had nothing to do with a glowing knowledge of how to care for house plants - ask my plant, it knows the pathetic truth).
Grabbing scissors from the kitchen drawer, I set her in the sink and chopped her entire deadness off. It nearly choked me to do it. She sat there in her huge white plastic pot, shaved and degraded, a perfect compost candidate. But I would not be thwarted. I watered and drained her thoroughly and set her in a new pot up in my skylight window; and waited for her.
I would not throw out an old friend because she had lost her zest for life. Would you? Would God?
Time has passed, and tiny shoots have begun to appear on the ugly lump that remained after the shearing; I feel she has begun trusting that I'm in it for the longhaul. (She has no idea how strongly I feel about this!). And the question comes back to me again: what do you do when the person you count on suddenly has nothing more to offer?