Wiping Blood Off the Leaves

I sprinkle it with holy water and pray it lives.
I sprinkle it with holy water and pray it lives.

I kill green things. Under my care, plants eventually turn brown and brittle. One potted cilantro I bought lasted long enough for me to make one tasty batch of guacamole, and then the leaves wilted. It died within the week.

I don’t know why my plants conk out on me. I may over or under water them (probably the latter), expose them to too little sunlight, or they just might not like the way I talk to them.

Something in me likes to see things grow, despite my penchant for draining the life from the living. I recently bought two herbs (one rosemary and one spicy oregano) to use for cooking. Given my history with the cilantro, this was a risk. But the Twitterverse told me that rosemary is a hardier gent than cilantro, and Twitter doesn’t lie. So far, the wisdom has proven right; the rosemary is thriving after two months under my care. Yesterday, I put it in a pot with the oregano and dumped a cup of water in the planter. And I prayed.

As an admitted pessimist, I struggle not to strangle my own dreams before the roots spread. I have planted amazing seeds in the past year to make my life more verdant:

I traveled to New Orleans to volunteer for the Southern Fried Poetry Slam;
I took a writing class;
I resumed writing my fledgling memoir;
I performed more poetry;
I joined a fellowship/charity group;
I started pages for Twitter, Tumblr, this WordPress blog, and Disqus;
I published some essays online
I launched myself into writing groups;
I patronized my local library and read real books;
I cut all my hair off again;
I learned I could be fearless.

I have come to realize that things in my life die because I let them go, because I do not fight for their existence. I nearly let my writing wilt and molder from fear. Afraid it would stink to high heaven. Afraid others would not find it palatable. Afraid of what could happen if I wrote something powerful I could not nurture.

But I know if I nurture my spirit, the words will push upward toward fresh air and they will live on their own. I will wipe blood from the leaves of things I killed and start over. My life is fragrant with dreams these days. I give them sun and water and I speak kindly to them in the morning.

And I pray over them: Grow with me.

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10 thoughts on “Wiping Blood Off the Leaves

  1. I’ve planted similar seeds this year like taking a writing course. This year I’m to push myself to submit stories. It makes me dizzy and I haven’t. I have no problem growing plants (You should see this orchid) but nurturing and cultivating those things within me…well.

  2. Thank you so much for your words of inspiration; they have exposed my tightly held fears. I must say I have started a lot of things that I have watered with fear and concern for others disapproval. I stumbled upon your blog because I have decided it’s time i starve my fears. Thanks again, I will no longer think I can’t write, I will just write!

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