Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A "Dead" Poinsettia Blooms

My neighbor, Connie's poinsettia is blooming Wait! Let me tell you the story of Connie being away for 6 weeks last winter and coming home to find a dead-looking poinsettia by the sliding glass door in her basement. She just left it there and didn't water it. Not being one to declare a plant "Dead," she planted it in a corner of her vegetable garden in May. It sprouted leaves.

There it remained until the October frost warnings became dire. Connie dug it up the leafy poinsettia at the last minute and potted it. Of course, it went into transplant shock and dropped many of its leaves.

At the end of November, she cut the leafless 18-inch stems entirely back. Today she brought it upstairs from her cool basement. It's blooming because it has had 12 hours (more recently 14 hours) of darkness every night.

Sometimes we think we ought to just declare our meditation practice dead. Once upon a time, i suddenly stopped meditating, cold turkey, for 2 years. But the right conditions conspired to get me back on the cushion. One of them was Connie saying, "I'm so depressed we have to start meditating again." We had meditated together 18 years earlier, then stopped when she had children. Meditation may have looked dead in our lives, but we both knew the roots still had life in them. We planted ourselves together every morning for 20 minutes. Eventually Connie's depression lifted, and she re-bloomed into her life.

Even when it looks like the life has gone out of a plant--the right conditions--in the case of the poinsettia, not-watering, cool temperatures, and darkness--give birth to new green growth.

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