Buy a Watering Can, And Other Obvious Epiphanies

Though I love DC for all of its obvious an non-obvious charms, I have so say, Northern California has it beat on the weather front soooooo badly I feel guilty even pointing it out. (Sorry, DC! We love you too!) So when we moved into our first apartment at Stanford I was EXTRA thrilled to see that it had a balcony almost half the size of the living room! Finally! GREEN SPACE!!!

OH THE DREAMS I had for this balcony. We immediately flew to home depot and bought planter boxes, trellaces for climbing flowers, herbs, soil, vines, veggies, fruits, the works! Before we had even purchased a single item for inside the house, the balcony was freshly dressed, covered in bright colors,crisp with sharp, clean oxygen. My little oasis. I had big plans for this balcony.

But then, the plants died.

Sure, I watered them! I filled up our big stainless steel popcorn bowl (clean, of course) with fresh, sparkly H20 and carted it out to my babies. For the first week I watered them daily. Then I thought I was maybe watering the plants too much, so I slowed down. Then I would go a couple days between watering. Then a week. Then they got brown, and no water could save them. So…. they died. And we let our brown plants sit on the balcony for a while. Crispy, sad, lifeless. I mean, we did have a really hot spell, after all, and maybe that’s what did them in.

Eventually the sorrow from the original failure passed, and I was again seized by my dream of herbs and flowers. One weekend while Oliver was out of town, I made another overjoyed home depot dash and came home with ANOTHER car full of beautiful flowers. Tenderly, carefull, I tucked them in, sprinkled them with water. Brushed the soil off my hands after a job well done and felt contented at last. I had learned my lesson. I was certain that this time would be different.

And the plants died again.

And a few more months passed.

The third time I was seized by the desire to surround myself in greenery, I walked more timidly though Home Depot and came home with just a handful of carefully selected plants, a pair of gloves (I had a lot of dead rasperry bushes to dig up!), and a $4 watering can.

And do you know what? That $4 watering can. THAT ONE $4 watering can has made all of the differnce. It is the teensy, tiny catalyst I need to remember to water my plants everyday.

For the first time (EVER),my little plants are growing! Even, dare I say, thriving! After months of failure, far more wasted money than I would care to admit, and numerous rounds of refreshed/then/crushed resolve, I finally figured it out. I had to water them everyday.

Yeah, duh.

Perhaps this is a long way of saying something I have been thinking about lately. That “this time” will never be different….only this day.

How can we ever expect our lives or our situations to be fundementally different than they are now, or than they have been, if our days are not fundementally different too? How can we expect night and day change in our lives if there is not a night and day difference in our days?

How many times have you tried to do something, gave it a good run, failed, felt awful that you failed, and stopped for a while…. only to pick up the same resolve a little later and tell yourself that “this time will be different”? And then fail again?

How many exercize plans have you made? And quit? And then re-made?
How many times have you lost your patience, and then determined to be better?
How many new plans have you dreamed up, and then hid somewhere in the dark corner of “don’t ask me about it…it didn’t go so well”?

Man, that feeling is the worst. But my point, of course, is not that we shouldn’t keep trying, or that we should try to avoid that feeling. My point isn’t that things can never change.

On the contrary, they MUST change.

They must change MORE than that have been changing. Because for any good thing to live and grow it needs attention everyday.




ANYTHING. Relationships. Clean, lovely homes. Gainful employment. Living creatures. Talents. Clean skin. Anything. Seriously, name it.

It’s all about consistency. All of it. We’ve got to stop waiting. Got to stop forgetting. Putting it off. Making excuses. It’s today or never.


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  • Or it could be that you inherited my brown thumb. I also forgot to water, but it was even worse than that. All I needed to do was walk by a plant few times and it turned brown. Now, they don’t die as quickly and I do remember to water more often. At least, I think I am better. We haven’t had any indoor plants for quite a while, since we go back and forth. Someday we will settle down and I will once again get to see if I still have a brown thumb or if it has turned green with age. Love you.