Saturday, August 21, 2010

Reflection: The Time You Waste For Your Basil Plant

There is a basil plant. I think she has tamed me.

Let me say this: I do not have a green thumb. I have neglected plants in my time. I seldom have a plant at all except the summer basil -- and I have neglected summer basil before.

But this one... The basil plant and I live in a room with two windows facing the afternoon summer, in a city where even in the sun, the cloud cover often doesn't dissipitate until noon. I set the basil plant atop the dollhouse, so it can be right up by the window. Sometimes I move it around a bit in late afternoon, chasing patches of afternoon sun. I poke and stir at the soil to check tht is is very slightly moist.

Two days ago (the last really sunny warm afternoon) it got hot in that room. I couldn't work on the netbook -- on sunny afternoons I can't see the netbook. Closing the blinds wasn't an option as the basil plant thrives on sunny afternoons -- because a good afternoon photosynthesizing followed by a night recouping and rebuilding restores that basil's firm umbrella-like leaves, but it's quick to get droopy when conditions aren't favorable.)

What is it about this basil? It's simultaneously so vulnerable and so resilient -- but so, I imagine, are the others if I got to know them. This, though, is the basil plant I took pictures, this is the basil I wrote about... To echo The Little Prince, in herself, she is more important than all the other basil plants.

Postscript (a day later): Trader Joe's chucked their basil plants last week -- they weren't doing so well. I was thinking this morning -- looking at the rainy sky, at the droopy leaves -- that my basil plant wasn't going to make it more than a few days. But it looks so much better tonight -- and will likely look even better by morning. Today was actually a mostly cloudly day, but I realized that with the window open, I could set the plant directly on the sill with the rail of the day bed to hold it in place. There it sat except when the lowering sun sent some bright rays into the room and we chased them.

And now... nightfall. Goodnight, netbook. Goodnight, basil plant. And (outside the still open window) Goodnight moon.