The plant was already a good 15 years old when my mom passed away in 1998. One of her sisters in Ohio had potted it for her from her own old “family” plant, and mom had carried it all the way back to Utah in the car. It never did very well hanging in her craft room which was strange because it had great light there and she was careful to water it regularly.
I was going to throw it away when we cleaned out her house, but knowing the history of it, that it had come down through several generations of my mom’s family, made it something of a sacred artifact for me. (If you’ve read my About page you KNOW I have a penchant for artifacts.) So I brought it home. Thinking it was root bound, his lordship (aka the farmer in the family) replanted it in a bigger pot. And while its leaves grew dark green and shiny, it only rarely sent up a new shoot.
In researching it, trying to find out what, exactly, it was (all mom’s sisters were gone by that time), I discovered it’s called a Wandering Jew because it’s suppose to vine all over the place. I also found that if you touched the ends of the new shoots for any reason, that part of the plant would stop growing. How weird is that? The surprising thing for me, though, was that the life span for a healthy Wandering Jew is only two to three years. It’s been 17 years now that I’ve been nursing it along. That makes this little plant an amazing 32 years old!
Knowing from my reading that Wandering Jews are extremely easy to propagate, about eight months ago I cut a piece of a vine off above a joint and stuck it in a clear vase in the kitchen window. Over the months I’ve watched the roots grow long and big and stretch around and around the inside of the vase. Finally a week ago HL potted the little start and it’s now sitting in the window over the sink.
This process has impressed on me how like this plant humans are. The human spirit is amazing. We can bare up under even the most horrible of burdens for a very long time if we have to. But the result is usually a stunted kind of growth. The bit of plant I started grew roots within a week, but it never sprouted any new leaves or vines. Why? I suspect because even though it was well-watered and had plenty of light in that eastern window, it still wasn’t getting the nutrients it needed to grow.
I think that’s the way it is for us, too. If we want to not just survive but thrive, we have to be immersing ourselves in those life situations that provide the nurturing nutrients we need to grow strong and healthy and green.
In looking at my own life I realized there have been few times during my child-rearing years that I actually tended to my own needs in healthy ways. Starting this blog and taking Blogging 101 was a huge deal for me. It’s the first NEW thing I’ve done for myself in over ten years. And it scared the bloody tar out of me. But I feel it’s become the fertilizer I needed to jump start a growth spurt.
I hope my little plant will do the same in its new pot with added fertilizer. And I hope I can get brave enough to move a bit further out of my comfort zone and experience new things in my life. Especially since I’m not sure what my OWN healthy life span is! (Though I can say with utter certainty that Writing 201: Poetry was definitely NOT one of those things! 😉 )