Thursday, June 21, 2007

White Petunias





White Petunias

When my mother's next door neighbor moved into the nursing home she had to give away all her beautiful house plants. My mother, possessing the blackest thumb a person has ever seen, bestowed upon me the grand responsibility of saving the suffering peace lily that she inherited. I didn't have the heart to say that the plant was a lost cause.

With care, I faithfully watered the lily, talked to it hopefully, and gingerly pruned one decaying brown leaf after another. Despite my positive reinforcement conversations, it wasn't long before the only thing listening to my pleas of encouragement were a handful of withered roots in a barren looking pot. I watched the empty pot look lonelier and lonelier.

Sadly, the neighbor in the nursing home passed away. Afterwards, the empty pot sat. I didn't know what to do with the pot when she died, though I somehow couldn't bring myself to just throw it away. Somewhere, buried underneath the soil, I thought there was hidden potential. Perhaps it really was lonely. I found a ladybug whirly-gig and added its cheerful smiling face to the barren pot. The wind blew and the smiling ladybug twirled. Except for a few small rain showers, I completely forgot about watering the plant.

Today, the ladybug finally has some company. No, the white peace lily didn't miraculously return as I knew it wasn't going to. However, in its place a beautiful wild white petunia plant has somehow sprouted all on its own. This is the only white petunia in my yard and I have no idea where it came from except perhaps on an angel's wing.

The meaning of the peace lily is generally thought to represent peace, yet our views regarding peace are very individual in nature. The petunia, though, is sometimes thought to represent a contradicting parallel of resentment, anger, yet soothing presence. On some levels, the white petunia is just that. On a small front porch stoop directly across the street from the cemetery, a small white petunia plant flourishes - angry that it's on that damn stoop, yet perfectly soothed to be exactly where it is in its small place in this great world.

The whirly-gig ladybug spins its wheels carelessly and smiles knowingly.







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