This is a jade plant. It is old, leggy, and should be dead. It was in a sunny window for over two years without any water and without much in the way of heat throughout the cold winters. After the flood in June of 2009, it was abandoned.
When the workmen started in January of 2012 and informed me that the kitchen would be removed, I felt that I’d rescue the planter at least. It weighed almost nothing, just as much as the terra cotta pot. Thinking that I’d break off the leggy branches, I was stunned to find them bend and not snap. I set it outside on the porch in the dead of winter and ignored it - a puzzle for another less hectic day.
I found it in my office two weeks later. My office is the only partially functional room left in the house. A workman had taken pity and brought it in, perhaps it was in his way. It was on the floor… my hardwood floor. I lifted it and noticed that a few of the leaves were not so prunish. Odd, I thought. This plant is dead. It has to be.
I reached for my scissors, as once again, the paper-shrouded branches did not snap off. I proceeded to trim it back and nearly dropped the shears when I saw a juicy green center hidden in the middle of the seemingly dead stalk. How could this plant have survived over two years on ambient moisture? I know it is in the cactus family; but over two years without water?
I proceeded to trim, bring it outside for light and water, and it surprisingly is responding to being noticed and valued once again. I call it my Lazarus plant. It reminds me that in spite of living in close quarters, I can still draw on a wellspring of imagination and write. It is not the space, the block of time, or the fancy office that makes a writer. It is the love of words, the fortitude to keep rearranging them until they make sense, and the satisfaction of understanding a bit more of oneself when the words shine back from the page.