I bought a purple phlox 2 weeks ago, but didn't plant it.
When i came home from my week-long retreat, it was still standing on the front step, but now it has withered brown leaves and dried-up flowers.
Of course, i hope it isn't really dead yet. Maybe some end-of-life aritfical hydration will resuscitate it?
This disappointment is the result of desire. I saw the purple phlox in a friend's garden; i stopped at the greenhouse on the way home and bought it. Then doubt and procrastination intervened. I had the object of my desire in hand, but i couldn't ramp up the desire to take the next step and plant it. I couldn't decide where to put it. I didn't want to clear a spot for it. It languished for a week, looking sadder and sadder. Then i left home for a week.
We want things to stay like we leave them: we want permanence. But unwatered plants change--they wither and die while we're not looking. When we look again, life has changed. The life of the purple-phlox-in-a-pot changed to death.
The ego can load more suffering onto itself. (It's all my fault!), because that way we at least have a reason for what happened. We load more stress on top of the disappointment over and over again. Really, all that happened was that a plant died. Life dies. Sooner or later. This phlox died sooner than i wanted it too.