no edit 2018 Mirror Image Edutainment, Alan John Mayer
WRITER’S CAVEAT: This post has not been edited since it was written. I offer no apology for excessive use of the words have, had, that, misplaced or missing commas, or excessive use of exclamation points. Update: the trees are survivors, and have grown healthily apart.
Recently I moved into a new house. To my left lives a family with a young four year old son. During the week a thirteen year old boy plays with the infant in the back yard outside my bedroom window. Other than twelve cars outside, during a back yard family bar-b-que on Easter, I see little of them other than the woman who drags her four multi-colored trash receptables to and from the street every week.
To the east my living room looks out over the asphalt driveway, just eighteen inches from my window, onto a row of twenty 60′ tall cypress trees growing about two feet apart from each other. Through the hacked off lower branches, after school and on weekends, I can see two or three children kicking around a ball, jumping rope, and playing with their dog. The yard is filled with many beautifully potted plants, all looking as if they had just had a fresh sip of Miracle Grow. On weekday mornings I watch the neighbor herd her kids into their gray SUV with the five white stick figures on the back window reading Nuestra Familia — with a dog as the side kick.
Beyond the cypress trees with the 14″ inch diameter trunks, just barely holding together, there rests the remains of a rusty old cyclone fence. Beyond that the neighbor has set up a professional carport tent, which he completed with an industrial size bright blue tarpolin in back to grace my breakfast room view. Between the tan canvas carport and the cyclone fence there was a ficus trees just begging to be watered. Upon closer observation I realized that the sixteen inch diameter container was bone dry.
“Help me,” I heard the plant say as I looked it over.
Ever since my second grade Zinnia seed science project (which proved to be a success) whenever I see something begging to hold on to life, I extend a helping hand. Upon retrieving the tree I noticed at the seven feet tall tip there were about six leaves leading down to three feet of bare trunk and a small patch of pale green leaves at the base.
“Oh, you poor thing,” I said to the plant, “you must be dying of thirst.”
“Water. Save me. Water. Save,” I heard the tree say.
“Oh my Gosh! Yes, of course I will save you,” I told the ficus. “Just hold on while I go into my gardening drawer and put on my gardening gloves. I know you are friendly but I also know you scratch when deprived of water.”
I returned five minutes later with my gloves on, ready for surgery. “This is going to hurt you a lot more than it is going to hurt me,” I told Ficus. Upon uprooting the plant in preparation for surgery, I realized it was a Siamese Ficus. I pulled the two trunks apart and potted them in separate pots in vitamin rich gardening soil. After shaking off the dead leaves, I pulled the twigs and branches apart, stretching them before giving them a good trim, leaving any twig that had at least one leaf on it. Then I watered them with Miracle Grow (as any gardener will attest Miracle Grow is the best) and massaged their trunks. I placed one in my living room. The other I placed outside in view of the line of cypress trees.
As I cleaned up, I noticed Ficus had dropped more leaves tucked way back between the fence and the carport, behind several sticks smothered under years of cypress trees leaf debris
(be they leaves on cypress trees? If they are not inform me please).
“Come hither, you flora,” I summoned and before I knew it, the third Ficus had transported itself onto my asphalt driveway and was begging for artificial respiration.
“Resussitate me,” the tree said, “artificial respiration.”
“Wait a minute, Ficus,” I said, “isn’t it you who is supposed to be providing oxygen for me?” Within hours the seven foot tall Ficus had undergone the same procedure as the others and was stretching her limbs. My horticultural experiment was successful and I am now being rewarded with many fresh buds. Glowing in the light of my horticultural success, I was pleased with myself and sat down with an ale.
Then my conscience got to me. I knew the trees were not mine but it was obvious they had been abandoned. They were dying. The Ficus had called out to me, I, Alan, who communicates with the trees and plants, and I responded as any doctor would have. I thought it a good idea to share the largest plant with the neighbors by placing it on my front porch in full view for all to enjoy.
“Aah,” I said as I stepped back inside, kicked off my and shoes and sat down on my sofa to savor a glass of ginger ale overlooked the recently raked and watered cypress trees. How nice. No one can look in through these treated windows, I thought.
Then came the day the landlord came knocking on my door. Now what? ,I thought as I opened the screen door. “Yes, Felix,” I asked.
“I have a request from a neighbor. He says you took his ficus tree and he wants it back.”
“Oh God. I actually expected this to happen, I said.” “Nobody cared about the tree while it was dying, in fact, it had been abandoned and now that I have brought it back to life, they want it.”
“I wish you would take care of the matter,” said Felix.
“Maybe I can convince him the tree is better alive here than abandoned as dead between properties.”
“Maybe you can work a deal out with him. Please tend to it,” said Felix.
“I will tend to it before the weekend is out,” I said, wondering if the landlord is thinking I am a thief.
Since Felix’ visit, I was not able to enjoy myself. I could not focus. I was tense. I realized how I had brought this stressful event upon myself. I was trying to enjoy watching a movie, but unable to do so. I then realized my conscience was bothering me. I began convincing myself I had stolen my neighbor’s trees and this is how in the past I have similarly created enemies without being aware I was doing so. I put my Netflix streamer on hold, opened the closet, and got dressed. Then I carried my shoes to my front door and set them down. I opened my wallet and counted my money (something I rarely do, as I had just come from the ATM). The value in money is not the linen or the gold, it is the power that the linen attracts. I studied the bills and began visualizing my relationship with money changing. After all, my goal by 9/23/2015 is to ahve $60,000,000,00 in my Schools First Credit Union account.
After putting on my shoes, I stopped at the door to pray. I visualized myself in love with the as of yet unknown neighbor. This is not about the plant, I thought. This is about ownership, property, respect of property. I followed my daily prayer and sent love ahead, expecting the man to be a 6’4″ 270 pound bully to match the image in my head of the large gray SUV. As I opened the gate, a boy and girl were playing under the carport tent. I approached the lady of the house standing at the threshold.
“Your plants all look so healthy,” I said extending my hand, “my name is Alan.”
“I am Monica,” she said, offering her hand while indicating to her husband that the neighbor had arrived to determine the fate of the Ficus tree. I saw the frail man grab a shirt and slip it on as he hastened to greet me at the door.
“My name is Alan” I said extending my hand again.
“Armando,” he replied.
“Felix tells me you are the man who wants to reclaim your ficus trees,” I said.
“Yes,” said Armando.
“I have been a gardener since I was eight,” I said, “whenever I see something dying, I extend a hand. In the case of your Ficus, I transplanted them into good soil, trimmed them, and have cared for them with Miracle Grow. Now they are responding by budding. They are your trees and I understand this is not about the trees but rather about ownership. I feel I owe you an apology for stepping over the boundary. I can return the tree to you or would you be satisfied to say the tree is yours while under my care right where it is on my front porch where we can all enjoy it, and I will give you ten, say rather twenty dollars. You can buy a new plant — or take your family to dinner,” I added.
“No, dile a el que si la cuida,” he began telling his daughter, who translated.
“He says if you will take care of the plant you may keep it.”
“There are two of them,” I lied. Well had I not performed surgery to separate them, even I would not have known that, I thought. “Let me at least offer you the twenty dollars,” I pleaded.
“No, he said as long as you take care of the plants you may have them” said the daughter. Monica indicated I put my money away.
“Armando,” I said reaching out my hand again, “you are a man with a heart. I am happy to be your neighbor.” I felt the rough leathery texture of his workman’s hand and could see the burden of labor in his eyes. “Thank you,” I said. As I walked down the long driveway, the elementary school teacher in me spoke up. “You can pick up some games, coloring books, and crayons for the kids next time you are at the store, Alan.” I headed up my driveway, opened my door and got undressed, feeling elated about having established peaceful co-habitation with my new neighbors to the east, Armando and Monica.
Now I can expose my three trees freely without a guilty conscience. And how do they repay me? They provide oxygen and beauty when I seem to need it most. And now to my prayer.
There is one life.
This life is Plant.
This Plant is green.
This Plant is perfect.
This Plant is my Plant now.
I give thanks for the many blessings in my life, the trees, both Ficus and otherwise, the neighbors, Monica, Armando, Felix, and otherwise. I give thanks for all of the people who add value to my life. I ask that they be blessed with good health, protection and healthy Plants. I accept all God’s good is my rightful inheritance as I speak my word for myself and any believer who has the power to envision.
I accept my Plant on its terms.
I accept that my Plants apply the use of chlorophyl to better serve my needs.
I let it all go to free my mind to move on in joy, peace, harmony and understanding of Plants. I ask you, my Higher Power Plant to give us this day out daily blessing.
And so Plant is.