Ever since Thanksgiving, I’ve been admiring one of life’s few bright moments of 2020; the blooming of my family’s Christmas Cactus (botanists refer to it as Schlumbergera Truncata).
Following nearly an entire year’s worth of worthless events, which have torn life, as we once knew it, asunder, I could not help but let out my contented sigh, just this early a.m., as this profound sense of normalcy washed over me.
Imagine That! At least plant life can STILL get everything right!
Who couldn’t feel respect, even awe, for this decorative, stunningly attractive houseplant’s genetic instructions, all firmly rooted in antiquity; how this horticultural marvel knows how to decorate itself; and just in time for humankind’s year ending holidays, too!
However, what transcends even this wonderment, at least for me, is the symbiotic, oxygen / carbon dioxide, relationship between plant and animal life; the interactive merger of our two family trees.
While, re the ancestry aspects, I cannot dig much deeper than two generations ago, we must’ve met at some point shortly after the turn of the 20th century, when both sets of my grandparents emigrated stateside. At that juncture, the green thumb belonged to my maternal grandmother, who passed on in 1960.
Shortly thereafter, my mom’s sister began making regular Minnesota to Michigan Greyhound Bus trips to summer with us. On one of her early to mid 1970 visits, she brought along several “cuttings” from their mom’s Christmas Cactus. I recall watching, intently, as these two, green thumbed sisters expertly and successfully potted them.
I’m pretty sure that throughout all the decades that were to follow, my mom found much solace in the continuity; i.e., from just knowing that a part of her dear mother’s plant was now thriving within our household; would be brightening up all of our Christmases.
Then, when my mother passed on in 2003, it’d appear that I had inherited enough of her green thumb skills to ensure her houseplants would continue to flourish. And now I, too, sense that continuity; that same solace; just from knowing that my mom’s mom’s plant continues / will continue to brighten up my own Christmases.
I also sense a kindred spirit. Said she…
“During the holidays, the stores are filled with acres of blooming Christmas cacti. They flower brightly with blooms in red, pink, yellow, orange, white or purple. The average gardener can’t keep their hands from clasping one or more in exotic colors and rushing to the cash register. But at some point, reality intrudes and you not only want to keep it alive, you would like to have it bloom in future years. Why, you might even be leaving a giant, magnificent Christmas cactus to your heirs.” [read more here].Ms. Gretchen Voyle • Michigan State University Extension • December 1, 2011
My best wishes, throughout our troublesome, 2020 holiday season. Hopefully you, too, can find similar solace while experiencing life’s simpler moments. With caution and patience, eventually, a more robust reality will be our reward.
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Stay Safe at Home!