Myrtle

Myrtle.JPG

I sit on my porch a lot…in Hawaii we call it our lanai. The same table and chairs have been there for years and years since we bought the place in 2001…scratch that, one of our dogs broke our original glass table; the cheap, wooden one there now is one I got at Ikea when I lived in LA in the 90s….ok I’m going off on a tangent…

 

Suffice it to say, the small space there is a cherished one. It’s not fancy by any means, but it is…was…ours. The all-weather carpet is old and dirty, no matter how I try to clean it, and the railings have some wood rot for sure. Our view is blocked by the house in front a little, and some power lines, but we can still see the ocean, and Kona airport, with the planes taking off and landing 1500 feet and five miles below. 

 

Mike and I spent hours and hours out there together. We spent countless time with friends and family, his daughters…listening to music, gossiping, arguing, dancing…he wanted a rocking chair so badly, it was tough with our limited shopping resources to find one here on the Big Island but I finally did and it is still there, though I’ve had to repair it with tougher screws now and again. For years we had our assigned spaces…he in his rocking chair, me in the weathered plastic chair opposite, his daughter who lives here, when she visited nearly every day, took the third, other visitors pulling up our collection of cheap plastic seats…when he died, that day, that moment, I remember walking out there in absolute horror, waiting for the coroner…stopping myself from sitting in my usual spot because I could not face his empty rocking chair across from me. In a daze I walked over and sat in his space. How strange it was to sit there the first time. How different my perspective was sitting from that side. But I’ve sat there ever since. Every day. Every, single day I sit out there…nearly three years later, his rocking chair is now my chair. 

 

Good luck to anyone who tries to go out there with me and take that chair. 

 

But in between us, sitting on that table all these years, has been a beautiful jade plant one of his clients gave us. A bonsai, still in her original pot (yes, her, I think of her as a sentient being…) She has seen and heard more than any living human about my life. In fact Mike and I used to talk about how many secrets this plant knows. She has heard deep and private conversations between husband and wife, weathered arguments with friends and family, suffered neglect from infrequent waterings, and various smoke and alcoholic breath (ahem) elements that came her way over the table.

 

She is a warrior.

 

One day I was sitting out there staring at her long, woody limbs, stretched one sided towards the limited sunlight there, thinking about how small she was when we got her and all she had seen and heard over these long years and wondered if she missed Mike too and…ok you people might think I’m a little wacko but in that moment of reverie I swear I heard the word “Myrtle.” Is your name Myrtle? What kind of a name for a jade plant is Myrtle??…so I looked it up, and it’s a name based on the evergreen shrub sacred to Venus as a symbol of love. Ok, well, that would make sense then.

 

Anyway, Myrtle is my constant companion. When all else fails, I’m out there sitting with Myrtle. And over the years I’ve watched her slowly grow, shedding the old leaves, weathered, wrinkled and dry, for new, bright green ones that sprout from the centers of her limbs. 

 

She is still the same being. She has the same roots, lives even in the same pot. But every so often, the old leaves must go, in favor of the new.  And each time she grows a little bigger and a little more powerful.

 

It made me think. I have the same roots, and I’m living in the same pot. I have the same limbs, but I find I have been slowly growing too…imperceptibly changing and shifting according to my life circumstances; suffering, at times, from neglect or proper nutritional support, but always reaching out towards the love and light…and always in the process of shedding skin and growing new cells.

 

Thank you, Myrtle, for your silent love and eternal, nonjudgmental friendship. For being a reliable, constant presence for so many years. And for reminding me that we are all works in progress…and all warriors in our own ways.


Showing 2 reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • commented 2016-01-16 23:48:37 -0800
    And thank you, Cathy, for coming here and commenting. I will think of you all now too when I sit there and meditate with Myrtle.
  • commented 2016-01-14 19:19:19 -0800
    " …always reaching out towards the love and light". A good phrase to remember, especially when we all have those dark days. Myrtle is lovely, and yes, plants are my friends too. I have some from my Mum, my Dad and my bro in law, who have all moved on. And what better place to be than in Mikes’ rocking chair; the space our loved ones once claimed as theirs can be so comforting. Thanks for sharing, Stephanie.

Blog Search:

Authors:

Tags:

Donate Volunteer Membership