I filled my bedroom with plants when I started finding chemotherapy too hard. All types: cacti, succulents, snake, zebra, prayer plants; bonsai tree, aloe vera, peace lilies. I remember buying the prayer plant specifically. It was a bleak day in chemo-land; I was faltering and losing my footing in the world around me, but most importantly, inside me – that’s where the magic happens. Inside. I know that’s why I love plants. You can see their inside magic take shape in their outward appearance – instantly. They don’t think to hide their magic. Or question it. They do not doubt their green pristine. Or feel the need to explain their dead leaves, the quiet cocoon – the wintering we all go through.
I love the way they move; the way they unfurl and uncurl new pristine green leaves. I love how they have stayed the course with me. Fresh curling greener than green, already-there-leaves unfurl as promises we whisper to ourselves in those quiet moments, or to each other in bed. Your arms around me where it still hurts. Where I am still numb after three consecutive surgeries. After my second surgery I came home from hospital to a freshly painted bedroom - the most beautiful rich, dark green. I had chosen the colour and my friend had painted it. It was such a gift. A stunning backdrop to enjoy the movement and shades of verdant green hues sprouting and whirling, living their own lives around my room; watching growth as I quietly healed myself, my body knitting back together.
I am looking at Baby Jane particularly today – a cheese plant propagated by my neighbour - because I noticed this morning as I was getting dressed, feeling so alone, that Baby Jane – from what looked like a dead leaf has grown a baby herself. I stopped and I said to myself, from the broken, from the brown leaves comes new life.
What looked like a withered shell of a leaf was a protective layer for a brand-new leaf, the emerald green a hue of the brightest hope. And I made a mental note to take a picture to send to my neighbour, Zoe, and tell her, guess what Baby Jane has had a baby of her own.
And as I pulled my jeans up, the loneliness was replaced by a deep settling peaceful feeling: new shoots are new shoots, no more how long they take to grow.
Watching my plants reminds me of the magic inside me and how it takes time with humans to start to see the fresh curl of green. It’s much slower for us. We grow slower than plants, that’s true, but we regenerate and heal, urging always towards balance. New shoots are new shoots no matter how long it takes them to sprout.
Katie Murray is the Skin Elixir resident writer and a published non fiction and fiction writer in various publications including Wildfire Magazine and Yellow Arrow Journal. Katie will be publishing her bi monthly blog post. So be sure to head back for more of her journey and beautiful writing. I am honoured to have her positivity and beauty in my life. 🌱
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