I have to admit that I was much more of an outdoors person when I was child. With air conditioning and computers, I tend to veg inside more now. Yet, when I was a kid, I loved to play outside. Before my baby brother was born, playing in the yard by myself and with my imagination was one of the few options I had as an only child. I lived in a trailer until I was eight, and although the trailer wasn’t really special, the yard was. My mother, like my grandfather and great-grandmother, has a unique talent for growing and taking care of plants. Our walkway was bordered with fuchsia-colored azaleas, which bloomed every spring and despite the attraction of bees, the flowers made the yard pop with color. My mother also planted a magnolia tree in the spring of 1990. When I was a kid, I’d take the pit of the dying magnolia flowers and break it a part to explore the seeds and insides. After more than twenty years, that same magnolia tree is still thriving in the trailer park when you drive by—one of the tallest seen from the road.
At my grandparents’ house, they own six lots around their house (since they were the third family to move into their neighborhood forty years ago) and my green-thumb grandfather has filled most of the land with many varieties of flowers and trees. Visiting their house in the spring is like visiting a small-scale version of a national park—there are numerous bushes of multi-colored azaleas, honey-suckles, camellias, magnolias, roses, gardenias. My grandfather takes care of his lawn and his plants, and because of this, his property remains one of the prettiest in the neighborhood, unaffected by growing technology or concrete. Most of the plants at his house are now rooted at ours. The passion for nature is entrenched in the idea of life and growth; there is magic in digging your hands in fresh dirt and depositing a seed, hoping the roots will take.
Although I don’t have the same concentration of green-thumb passion, I am proud that I haven’t killed the peace lily I was given at the funeral of my best friend, Amber after she took her life. It’ll be two years next week that she’s been gone, but I honor her short-lived life with this lily. I water it every other day and make sure to open my blinds to let the sun in. Its rebirth and blooms gives me hope.