Leaf me alone

dirty hands

This may be why I don’t have more friends.

I bought a ‘lucky tree’ about 7 years ago. I bought it to put in my brand new classroom. I was big into Feng Shui at the time and living things in classrooms (any room) were a good thing. I was late joining the teaching game and figured any advantage I could find, I would use.

My first classroom was a Feng Shui zoned paradise. I remember my director coming in and just wowing at how awesome it felt. I had a map in the right zone, with a dragon kite flying above it. I had the living things in the areas I wanted to grow. I had the pictures of the family in the family zone. It was pretty great. It was a great year too.

Since then, I’ve changed classrooms twice. My ‘lucky tree’ has moved with me. It has hung on and grown leaves, shed leaves, sparked conversations, and been wonderfully resilient. I joke that I will stay in the classroom as long as my tree lives.

Lately, my poor tree has been looking a bit ragged. The leaves are a turning yellow and brown, the stem/trunk is dry and cracking….it just doesn’t have the same breath of life that it had in younger years. I water it, turn it in the sun, and talk encouragingly to it, but nothing seems to help.

Yesterday, when I was again looking for reasons why it seemed to be near death, I noticed the soil was really low in the pot. I had the sudden realization that I hadn’t given it any new soil in about 5 years. It had eaten up all the nutrients in the little pot of soil it had and was basically starving to death.

This may seem like a no-brainer for those ‘green-thumb’ people out there but it was a revelation to me. Of course, it would need more soil to keep growing! I felt silly and relieved at the same time. Lucky for me, we happened to have a bag of potting soil at the school (thank you useless science kit) and I dumped it into Walter. Did I mention it had a name? I think I may have heard a joyous sigh of relief as I gently patted the dark soil around the trunk.

Besides being a lesson on agriculture, this little experience made me think about life. How often do we just go through life with the people in our families or communities and just assume they will be able to hang on with what we once gave them? How often do we really take the time to build them up, strengthen our relationship, fill their pot with love? I know I am guilty of being a worker. I work, I take care of things, I keep busy trying to make sure all the necessities are taken care of. It is easy to forget that the people around me are temporary, especially my children. They won’t be little or even semi-big forever. They are going to become adults and maybe move away and not talk to me every day. I already have a few that are leading their own lives and not needing me as much. It is a good thing but can be sad at times.

It is good to think about things like this. I feel like I learn something every day. Today I learned that I need to be more conscious about how I interact with the people I care about. I need to put forth a little more effort to keep them nourished and cared for.  I guess it sheds a whole new light on my brother’s mantra to ‘rub some dirt on it’ to make everything okay.

Here’s to getting dirty. Cause I said so.

Photo credit: http://www.firstthings.com

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