I Dream Of Ali

A malaise. A disenchantment. A depth without depth. Caitlin at Broadside blog recently penned an inspiring piece, citing a New York Times article, calling it… well… a languishing. It was like I was in dormancy (of which I know a thing or three, now, thanx to Ali and a tribe of Alocasia’s).

Languishing is the neglected middle child of mental health. It’s the void between depression and flourishing — the absence of well-being. You don’t have symptoms of mental illness, but you’re not the picture of mental health either. You’re not functioning at full capacity.

from Broadside, by Caitlin Kelly

I lost what moved me, ignited me, calmed me, compelled me. Out of reach, viewed as if through a thick fog. Intangible.

For 8 1/2 years I’ve woken up, made my java, sipped the hot brew, while smoking those cylinders of sin, opened WordPress, and wrote. Every single day.

Yet, no, not depression. Not sad.

Just…. meh.

Late December it grew, by mid-January this dormancy seeped through my days, took my words, my vision, the narrative hi-jacked by this looming sense of what to do, what next, how do I… what do I… should I’s… darkening my ordinary day, week, month… has it been over a year? Pandemic fatigue, I hear tis it’s name.

Then I bought this strange looking plant, an Alocasia Poly.

However, as it turned out, it was a rather sad Aroid that had been in the death grip of a nursery pot that hadn’t decayed. Each leaf withered, yellowed, and died, one by one. So, with some rehab, a new pot, new soil, separated the baby to its own pot, tubers to sprout set aside. Then came the humidity meter, then the humidifier to counteract the dry late winter air that made it go dormant. Then grow lights, and more grow lights, and rearranging of furniture to accommodate. And… and… and… they started to grow.

And as the whiffs of spring brought warmer days, sunnier days, longer days, the baby Daffodils bloomed out front, then the Hyacinths opened their peach petals, and last week the Grape Hyacinths and Forget-Me-Nots swept through the garden outside my door… I feel it lifting. Drifting away, as the ferns and Hosta’s unfold.

I fell in love with an Aglaomena ‘red peacock’, and Neon Pothos... I just swooned… until I discovered the Philodendron ‘prince of orange’.

I sit here sometimes and, just stare. Meditating on a new chartreuse leaf, the slight curve at its tip, the delicate outline of red along a leaf edge, the shadows cast on the wall as the late afternoon north light drifts through the room.

Minding their individual care has distracted me from the malaise, the languishing, the breath of dark that had begun to consume me, replaced with chlorophyll, h20, a moisture meter and PAR app. Minutes spent watching the humidity level rise on the Hygrometer, I reflect, and watch my little jungle thrive.

They all have stories, and I want to tell those tales. How each came to me, their care, why I chose them. All their beauty, noting every new leaf unfurl, in awe.

I mean, I’m not new to plants. I’ve had plants for decades. Fred is almost 30 years old now, you know, couple Oxalis, the African Violet that has never flowered… oh, and the Golden Pothos my oldest niece gave me one year for Christmas. And, can’t forget the Spider and Money Plants.

Plus, my little woodland I created out my door… for pondering.

Yes, I can say I know a thing or two, bout plants, and planty things.

Truth be told, I’ve hesitated over the years to get more plants for inside, though I’ve longed to. Dreamed of a little jungle of green around me. Alas, killed many an indoor fern dragged home, a kalanchoe gone with the wind. Not knowing where to go, where to look, pedestrian/cyclist that I am, I couldn’t bring them home, little lone get to where they are.

Well, then I discovered greenhouses that deliver (look for some future reviews of a few).

Ah, but tropicals… Aroids of all shapes and sizes, the understory jungle dwellers, apparently are my thing, I have learned.

Who knew?

I am soothed by the light through the glass, as is new Ali… the Alocasia Poly shipped to me by accident from one seller, as if I needed another Alocasia… but, come on in, join your tribe, welcome to my jungle.

And, really, I mean, it is ridiculous how much joy I get from this delightfully gaudy Anthurium ‘red flamingo’ I bought last week, on a whim.

Pure silliness.

A zenny kind of bliss I get from its new spathes, the unfurling heart shaped leaves, curling down just so to their elegant tips, you know? Almost phallic, sexual, and, I must say, looking quite content in her (yes her) clay cover pot, within a nest of moss on her soil, sitting in a pebble tray, luxuriating in the vapour of the humidifier I got on Amazon (thanks to Ali).

CLICK, new pot covers. CLICK moisture meter. CLICK, water filter. CLICK, more plants.

Oh my… is that a lovely phili poo? I must have you.

Ya, clicky click, I’ve had to bar meself from more clicks, ta-wit-ta-woo.

So, yes, I shall say this, sometimes you can most definitely indeed buy happiness. And cleaner air.

Yet, I too need food, and shelter. So, instead, I sit and mediate on the slight reddish trim on the leaves of the Philodendron.

Clicky click, took another pic.

Besides gardening, I’m a seeker of knowledge. Seeking knowledge, both distracting and satisfying. I want to know, I need to know. What does it want? What does it need? What soil is best? What does that cost? What other alternatives are good? Can I buy them cheaper here? Or there? Do I click, or do I just drag it home from Tuckey’s Hardware?


Tis bliss.

So, now, when darkness descends, I mist some of their leaves, only those that like it, with tepid filtered water, and I bid them ado.

Pika grabs her stuffy as I head to bed.

I dream of plants.

I do.

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