The kind woman, dressed in gardening gloves and a salt and pepper afro, told me I had all I needed. In my cart were the replacement botanics from when I over-watered our ten-year-old peace lily two months ago. I had pots and a window at home.
We talked about the herbs I was thinking of buying. She told me a few stories of sick plants she couldn’t revive. When we turned to my fears for destroying the plants I wanted, a reaction to my latest failure, she said I needed food, water when the soil felt dry, and, according to the cards sticking up from the plants, low light. She was cool, didn’t smile, and her unshakable confidence was sunlit.
For weeks I had been convincing myself that tending to a plant, with simple tools of light and water and occasional talk for ten years couldn’t sit next to one mistake, even if that one mistake undid those years of attention.
My gardening helper confirmed that growing something, nurturing something, building something took less than I thought. She said what I knew: after years of growth, things die, and sometimes by our own hands. Here’s to dropping my fingers in dirt.