On houseplants (Or: the care and feeding of a relationship)


Meet Fred.

I’ve never met a houseplant I didn’t like. This post in particular is about a plant named Fred.

I acquired Fred while I was still living in North Dakota in the Air Force (sometime in 2004 or so) and he was tiny. He was of the random plants you find at a grocery store and buy because you like the pot and figure the plant will die anyway but hey, at least you’ll have the pot.

Well, Fred didn’t die. He grew. He’s got a large round bulb at the bottom and his main base grows straight up with lots and lots (and lots) of long thin green leaves growing from each section of the base.

He grew out of the pot he was in about two years ago but between moving to North Carolina, going to graduate school and just generally living life I was busy. I finally repotted him tonight.

After using my little trowel to loosen Fred from the side of the pot, I still had to stand above him and pull and I ended up pulling all of the dirt out of the pot with him. His roots had grown around, over, underneath and through each other that it took a good 10 minutes of gently coaxing the dirt from around his bottom enough that I could set him in his new home.

Now he’s happy.

But Fred got me thinking about human nature and the nature of relationships. I figured out three things tonight:

  • First, people (and plants) can grow almost anywhere so long as they’ve got access to the basics;
  • Second, it sometimes takes friends to help us realize that we’ve outgrown the space we’re in and that it might be time to move on to bigger things;
  • Third, moving on is scary and although taking everything with you may seem like a good idea, it’s better to start again in new soil keeping only what’s necessary.

Thanks Fred.


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