Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Friday, November 6, 2009

If Mohammed Can't Go to the Tropics

If you’ve ever seen a naked plumeria cutting, you would know why my little girl first dubbed this plant “The E.T. finger.” There is a vaguely alien quality to the bald little stick.

Rooting it wasn’t easy, either, since I got E.T. at the worst time of year for a plumeria that has the misfortune to live in the Midwest. I had to baby him throughout the winter on a heating pad, under lights, to get him to root. But root he did, and has been growing for at least six years now into quite a handsome little tree. Although plumerias only branch when they bloom, mine branched right away thanks to the inflorescence (flower thingy) that the cutting came with (but that dropped during the rooting process). Every year, I hoped that this would be the year it finally bloomed.

At first I thought it was a semi-bad thing that E.T. chose fall to bloom, since I would normally let him go dormant for winter storage this time of year. But I’ve been enjoying the blooms so much that it’s clear this was quite a blessing. I’m pretty sure it is Celadine, which I’ve read has a unique feature to the leaf edge. The scent is faint and less fruity than the plumeria products I’ve purchased in the past, but it’s still beachy and exotic—slightly coconutty and citrussy, like suntan lotion.

So maybe I can’t go to the tropics, but I’m feeling pretty pleased with having the tropics right here in Missouri. In November.

I never saw an ugly thing in my life: for let the form of an object be what it may—light, shade, and perspective will always make it beautiful. ~John Constable

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