Tag Archives: dreams

Dirt on My Kitchen Table

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I never had an indoor plant that survived longer than a month. I remember walking the aisles of Market Basket and gazing longingly at the tiny African Violets in their foiled pots. I’m not sure how many my parents bought me over the years — at least three or four — and their purpley-pink flowers looked soft and adorable on my bedside table. For about three weeks.

We are a family that gardens, yet we are embarrassingly bad at keeping indoor plants alive. I’d say I have a brown thumb, but I don’t. At least not with every green thing. Before I went to college, my herb garden flourished, twisting and vining around the small stone walls we built. In our big garden, there were always cucumbers and tomatoes, onions and swiss chard.

Just never plants in my cranberry-colored bedroom.

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Morning glories in my old herb garden.

When I lived in Somerville, an orchid a student gave me languished in my window: too much sun, too much water, too much attention. A succulent turned brown and squishy (who knew you could kill a succulent?!). I felt like a murderer; one born of neglect as much as over-care.

[You can imagine my fear when Gabe, on our third date, walked over the bridge towards me with a big white orchid plant in his hand. I’d been known to kill before, and I’d probably do it again. I tend to connect plants and trees with certain instances; would this, too, speak doom to our budding romance?]

[Said orchid has never flowered again, but it is not actually dead. Read into that what you will.]

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I’ve been waiting for my own farm since I was six years old and read Little House on the Prairie — held it like this rosy dream in front of me, like some sort of reminder that even if things aren’t as I’d imagined, someday they would be. Somehow I would find a way to weave writing and singing and family and farming and teaching and faith in a way that would bring me my deepest joy.

Sure, I had (have?) delusions about farm life. I thought staying home every day and tending to my gardens and animals would be this relaxing, idyllic life. Even after years of tending to chickens and working in my parents’ garden, I was able to maintain the misguided notion that farming would help me escape the fast-paced modern lifestyle. Now, I still long for a plot of land, a rolling meadow, goats and chickens and bees. I want a life that connects me with the earth so that my mind doesn’t float too far up in the clouds.

[“This is life,” she said as we walked on the boardwalk along the river. “This is it.” And I realized hours later — or maybe a day — that I can’t keep waiting for things to happen. When I get my farm. When I figure everything out. When I finally stop this yearning. This is life. This is it. What do you want it to look like?]

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Plants and art make sense. Gabe’s Mitza made this for us on our wedding day, and the pottery dish is a Christmas gift from my mother.

When we moved into our new home, a condo with no yard, one of the first things we did was buy plants. After potting them, watering them, and distributing them to various sunny windowsills, I was shocked at the amount of ease and beauty they brought to my life. What is it about green things? Suddenly our high-ceilinged home was brighter, cozier, more alive.

I wish I could say that I’ve turned over a new leaf (that was unintentional, but I’m keeping it), and that every plant we bought remains luscious and full and growing. That is not the case. We have a fussy plant that I’ve moved twice, but it still isn’t happy. I tried watering it. I tried not watering it. I would sing to it if I thought that would work. We have a big palm behind our bed that graces us with its browning tendrils upon waking. What is wrong with it? I cannot guess.

Last week, my parents gave me basil, thyme, mint, and oregano after our trip to California proved too long and too dry for the herbs I had (not pictured). I drove to Lowe’s to get terracotta pots, and I couldn’t resist the little succulents leaning ever-so-slightly in their mini-pots. I’m a sucker for spider plants with their babies dangling down, begging to hang from our tall shelf. I bought more than I’d planned.

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I spent my afternoon re-potting, watering, arranging, tending.

I spent my afternoon with my hands in dirt (on my kitchen table, not in my garden).

I’m excited for the day when we will be able to have our own farm. When the plants I grow will grow food for our bellies and deliciousness for our taste buds. But right now, I am grateful that I’ve somehow kept a few plants alive, that I am able to bring to life my girlhood dream (even if it’s in terracotta pots), and that dreaming is beautiful, but it is most life-giving when it connects with the world as you find it.

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With Five You Get…?

I had this recurring dream growing up: I’d open the linen closet in our hallway, and magically there was a third floor in our house. The stairs were thin (because even in a dream I was logical – that closet was small!) and when we got to the top, there were two more bedrooms. We didn’t have to share rooms anymore! Here was an attic-y third floor that none of us knew about! It was amazing.

I had this dream numerous times, always imagining my own space, my own way of doing things.

Sharing a room wasn’t horrible at all. Sure, my sister and I had our ups and downs. We have different degrees of cleanliness, different ideas of what it means to be neat. My books took over. Her clothes took over. And neither of us cared much for a vacuum. But it wasn’t terrible.

Still, I dreamed.

She’s had her own place since August, and my brother just got an apartment. He moved in this weekend, loaded the back of the truck with his bed, bureau, clothes, snowboard. He was excited. So excited. There’s something exhilarating about heading out, embarking on a new adventure. Like my sister, he isn’t hundreds of miles away, but when he comes home from work, his home will look a little different. When I come home, there will be one less body, one less sibling with whom to enjoy a warm dinner and a glass of wine.

We made trips to the truck in the freezing cold, and I remembered that recurring dream.

My littlest brother is now cleaning out their room, rearranging furniture, making it his own. His music is playing loudly because neither of us likes to do work without music, and I am remembering a dream.

Our linen closet is only our linen closet, but we’re spreading out, just a little.

It doesn’t feel quite as nice as I’d Imagined.