by Molly Jo Realy @MollyJoRealy
Life is like a garden: many different species living together; some harmonious, some hurtful. Pesky weeds try to strangle the fruits and flowers as birds steal seeds only to drop them somewhere unplanned.
I don’t know what made me think of all this, except that it’s been exceptionally hot here in the desert and I’m worried about my potted garden dying on me. As the caretaker of my garden, I do my best to nourish it and enjoy it. To accept its beauty, individually and collectively. To prune when necessary, and to give it room to grow. And as my mind wanders, I soon found myself wondering about other plants and their survival traits.
The corpse flower is a strange thing. It grows to great heights, and some consider it to be exceptionally beautiful. With its variegated shades that blend from almost ivory to green to purple and red, I find it absolutely stunning. It’s one of those things that I’m not sure I like, but I can’t stop looking at it. It’s mesmerizing.
Of course, that’s not what piques the most interest. Some varieties bloom once a year, but most corpse flowers open only once every few years (some take more than a decade!). The aroma they reveal is what gives its common name: the smell of, well, rotting flesh.
People are like plants. Some are herbal: they serve not only to keep fresh greenery to look at it, but they spice up a recipe, and can be medicinal (good for the soul) as well. Others are decorative as well as useful. Roses, lavender and mint make great tea and potpourri. Good to look at, and soothing.
Still others are like the corpse flower: They hide behind their beauty, never letting anyone in. They open up to the world only once in a great while, and when they do, it’s offensive. They tower above the rest of the garden, and scream for attention. When they get it, they offer nothing in return but their stench. They bloom for two or three days, then they go into hiding until they have the courage to come out and roar again. It’s fascinating. And ugly.
In my garden, I would desire to be sage: a culinary herb, or a wise person. I would even like to be the aforementioned lavender: soothing to the sight and smell. Whatever I am, I choose to be alive, and share this life. Not to hide it behind false beauty, or release it upon the world with an ugliness that causes so many to turn away.
What you see is what you get. Sometimes I’m reaching, sometimes I’m done for the duration. Sometimes I close up for the night. Sometimes I last for a season. But there’s always some weeding that’s necessary, and always new growth to show for it.
If life is a garden, what kind of plant are you?
And Frankly, My Dear… that’s all she wrote!