Sunday, July 18, 2004
I've spent a very pleasant morning repotting african violets. In March, I gave my big plants a haircut and used the castoff leaves to start new plants; now the new plants are big enough to graduate from their plastic cup homes (with the tacky but effective Ziplock "greenhouse" covers) to real pots of their own.
No "Pomp and Circumstance" in the background but I got satisfyingly grubby, and now the windowsill here in Oakland is full of little green guys who will either make gifts for unwary friends or travel back to LA with me at the end of the month.
I needed a hobby that would engage the right side of my brain and require me to get really dirty from time to time, without requiring so much time and attention that I couldn't deal with school. I also missed having pets. The violets fill the bill nicely: they are fussy enough that they do require attention, but they don't need sitters or litterboxes.
I can't speak for the rest of the world, but I need to live with other living creatures. I suspect that the violets keep me from annoying my children too much, and worse yet, from inflicting my mom-energy on colleagues. They aren't quite pets, and they certainly are not children, but they do remind me that I am the partner of God in miracles: they wouldn't thrive without water, food, and fussing. Once upon a time, they grew wild in Africa, someplace where their leaves never got wet and their roots were watered regularly, but with a bit of help, they are nice to have in an apartment that is a little too quiet sometimes.
Apparently I'm not the only person who feels this way about saintpaulia. There's a national society devoted to the little devils, which sponsors shows, contests, trading events, and so on.
I used to worry that someday I'd be one of those old ladies with 100 cats. I don't think that's likely now, but I may become the middle-aged lady with 100 furry little plants!