Succulent Gardens: Isolation and Transformation

July 24, 2020

Garden Markers for Margaret's Succulent Garden

Howdy Jewelry Fan! So many people are gardening during isolation, but it’s one hundred degrees here in Tucson. Getting something to NOT fry in the summer heat is mostly impossible for someone with my gardening skill set.  (Early in our marriage, my husband helpfully suggested we invest in silk plants if that gives you any indication of my normal gardening prowess. Although I did have a kicking vegetable garden in Louisiana, which was pretty impossible to NOT have.) But I’m feeling it for Gardening!! At least from the inside of my air-conditioned Arizona house and studio.

Cue one of my limited quarantine social interactions: a trip to the grocery store for Quarantine Supplies. The location of a shockingly different kind of impulse buy. Normally, my impulse buys are in the Bakery section of the store, you see this particular grocery store has these shortbread cookies with a dollop of chocolate icing on them. It’s like the perfect dollop of icing without feeling my teeth rot out of my head! Irresistible! The Quarantine 15 might be a thing for me or not. I’m not telling. Anyway, this time, I happened through the floral department (as I’m avoiding the bakery, you see). Where, on impulse alone and a burning heart to have a green thumb, I bought a Succulent arrangement.

So cute! Wooden box, all little green bits promising to thrive on neglect and small amounts of water. Surely the perfect plants for me!! Perfect size for my desk! (A desk which is the first grown up desk I’ve ever owned- bought it last fall after stalking it online and in person for nearly a half a year.)  Perfect right next to the lamp (Costco buy and it’s twin is in my family room) to the right of my monitor, a bright green, adorable reminder that we are all living and connected.

 Except they started dying.

I can promise you, I was giving them ALL the neglect they needed. Stressed about my green experiment and NOT wanting my husband’s over two-decade premonitive admonition to be true, I moved them over to my studio windowsill. Lots of sunshine there!! And I fussed. I may have overwatered them if my niece is right—we had a frantic facetime consultative intervention when I noticed big, bold, juicy leaves on the rug. AHHHHHHHH!!!

Ok. Cue up MORE neglect, less water, more sunshine. Maybe a little fretting and regret on my part, selfishly missing the tidy, wooden box with its’ joyful green leaves (is that what succulent parts are called??) (not) looking back at me daily as I get sucked into work and the inter-web. Some days, I didn’t even LOOK at the succulents on the windowsill, being all caught up in the goings on of product listings, social media and jewelry fabrication within the walls of my narrowed business space during the craziest 2020 I never expected.

I finally checked in on the succulents.

Hoping I’d achieved the right mix of sunshine and neglect. A wild frolic of green succulents hungrily reaching towards the sunlight on the other side of the window confronted me. Well. Not really confronted in the sense that we had a fight, there was no anger on either side, but confronted. My expectations. My plans. My belief system surrounding what would WORK.

Confronted. Me. My. Me.

My expectations and hopes for 2020 which I somehow grafted onto a tiny wooden box’s tiny eco-system. If it would just work out how I WANTED, then MY joyful experience of being co-located with this bit of green could somehow make all of 2020 better (this could be a little stretch, or maybe it’s just the right amount of metaphorical weightiness I, as a human, can put on things that are NOT AT ALL related). And I definitely wanted to show my husband that I have learned a thing or two about growing things in the last quarter of a century. Well. I mean my kids turned out ok (so far) so that’s definitely a growing and nurturing situation, right?

I didn’t get what I WANTED, but I did learn, have done learned in the past, am still currently learning in the present and please, please, let me keep learning right up until the end of my time. I mean, I noticed they weren’t thriving in the first place. That’s something. I learned how to determine a change needed to be made, that the succulents needed an environment and location to let THEM live their best life. That’s also something. I learned I am merely a steward, living cooperatively and actively with the lives around me, be they green, fluffy or human. That’s definitely something.

One last thing I learned through my Tiny Succulent Garden: I can let go of what I thought I knew to be true at any moment and make the change that NEEDS to happen for my life to THRIVE. And so can you. You can let go of what you’ve decided at any moment, right now, and make a change that NEEDS to happen for your life to THRIVE. Start with one change. Isolate it. The next thing will get easier to observe, acknowledge and take action on. And all the while, your personal transformation will be underway.

This summer, for my Garden, for myself, I’m trying a bit of sunshine and some neglect. It’s the biggest rage in gardening. Join me?

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