Winter Wind’s Whisper

On my nephew’s birthday, in May last year, I bought myself a plant.  

It was supposed to fill the void I felt for not begin at his first birthday.

Even though family was flying in from Hawaii.

Even though I was around for his older brother’s first birthday.

Even though …

So while they got ready to celebrate up in Washington, I was digging a hole.

And I kinda ignored everything around me to get the hole dug.  

I was determined to go buy it that day. 

When it fell down in the truck despite my proud effort to arrange the tie-downs just-so, I was determined to prop it back up.  

When I saw all the dirt and damaged leaves and flowers, I was determined not to feel discouraged.

It was a little more than I wanted to spend on something that could potentially die. 

But it was beautiful.  

I had seen it weeks prior.  

And it would not leave my mind.

I justified the cost on his first birthday because, well…

I didn’t ask for help when I got home and wanted to bring it to the back yard.

I didn’t ask my husband for help figuring out where it should go.

I spent some time looking at the instructions that were stuck in its mud.

I picked where it would have a seemingly correct amount of sunlight and water.

And I dug a hole.

I filled it first with a layer of freshly nourished soil that said all the right things to me at Armstrong’s.

And then in went the plant.  

With a grunt.

I filled the sides with soil.

Built a berm around it like the instructions said.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world took care of itself.

And I sat back and waited.

When its shoots seemed to get heavy I tied them up to the adjacent pillar, eager for it to keep reaching up toward the trellis as I imagined it would, even before I bought it. 

When the beautiful velvety purple blooms seemed smaller with each birth, I justified it with it’s lack of sun or lack of nutrients or lack of good soil or lack of green in the thumb of its owner.

And when it’s leaves started turning brown I blamed the 100+ temperatures of the summer.  A plant so beautiful must be delicate, too, right?

I showed love by pulling the dead leaves off.

I showed love by helping the wilted blossoms, reaching for the soil below, find their place more quickly.

But there was still green in its main stems, still hope in my heart. 

Even though it looked like brown twigs, with brown leaves, held up only by kitchen twine, to a lifeless white pillar. 

Pile of dead leaves and flowers underneath.

With total uncertainty, I said “No” when asked if it’s time to cut it down. 

I wasn’t ready to give up on the plant that I bought on his birthday.

Unseasonably warm winter brought green leaves to neighborhood trees that were still holding on to autumn’s final remaining foliage.  

My Kili Clementis heard the same winter wind’s whisper.

Today, on Valentine’s day, I went to the back yard to see if I could hear my daughter’s voices at the park.

They had gone on a bike ride with their amazing Daddy.  

And something caught my eye. 

Something full.

Something green.

I hope, on this Valentine’s Day, you find reward in those things which you have nourished, cared for, hoped for and believed in.  I sure did.  Not just in the green variety (which may still not thrive as I hope it will), but in the dirty hands, inquisitive mind, always wanting a fun plan, swimming in the winter, coughing, wanting Daddy instead, nap-deprived variety of the two warm bodies sitting next to me watching Tarzan.  Sandwiched in by the guy I’ve somehow managed to be lucky enough to spend 17 Valentine’s Days with.  

 © Houseman 2013