About three weeks ago I thought it was dead: A stalk stuck in the bone-dry ground, a few withered leaves at the tip folded in on themselves and pointing up at the sky. Our friend Ray had given this to my husband, a plumeria stalk, and we’d done everything he had instructed us to do; dipped the stump in growth hormone, stuck it into a pot of fresh soil, watered it, and then let it dry out completely before watering again. It was okay for a while.
Then my natural gardening instincts took over: i.e., I totally forgot about it and completely neglected it. Horribly – as is my wont with the entire Garden of Eden that I euphorically imagine we’re creating every time we plant something new somewhere in our backyard.
But every once in a (long) while I’m visited by a heavenly inspiration to tend and nurture again. It begins with, “Oh shit, I forgot about the plumeria!” (Or whatever is shriveling and giving up the ghost out there.) As if driven by a spiritual calling (shame? guilt?), I pick up the watering can and the clippers and step out once again into the dessicated hell into which I have let my Eden disintegrate once again.
And so it was that a few weeks ago I emerged into the new hell that surrounded my home and found my shriveling plumeria. Poor thing. Well, never say never. I gave it water. A good soaking.
And then of course I totally forgot about it again.
Today I came around the side of the house to check on the fig tree (which, by the way, has only 4 figs on its branches) and in the distance I saw this glowing float of peach, gold, and cream.
My plumeria. Oh. My. God.
Never say never.
That old plumeria stalk had had no nourishment; it was wrinkled and folding up; I thought it was done for. And of course it was all my fault. But hey, if you’re totally at fault, you’re totally in power, right? I didn’t give up on the old thing. At the eleventh hour, I gave it water. And look at it now.
This very plumeria bloom is a perfect metaphor for what I thought I would do with my life. For a long time I’ve neglected my true goals. They became old and wrinkled. I gave up on them time and time again. And of course it’s all my own fault. Now I’m at this stage of my life – post-50 and becoming post-er post-50 every year. It’s my own eleventh hour.
But there’s plenty of lifetime left – a whole second adulthood, really. And there is action I can take; I can give that plumeria/those life’s goals some nourishing water, a good soaking of it. Who says those dreams can’t revive, and blossom?
Women At Woodstock is my annual soaking of water. Granted, it’s my creation and it serves many purposes, but personally, it’s helped me tremendously, more than I could have imagined – as if I were a guest just like everyone else, not the producer. The women who come to Women At Woodstock give back, help me bloom, inspire my belief in self, and keep me sustained until the next time we all gather – women of the sixties – flower children – watering cans at the ready.