I saw the first succulents of the year in the greenhouse over the weekend. It is not an exaggeration to say that my heart twittered and flip-flopped enough to make me think I had an arrhythmia. I thought that I would easily find several quotes online adoring the succulents and cacti of the world and that we would go on our way rejoicing in someone else’s poetic ability to capture the beauty of succulents. Umm… I’ve been bitterly disappointed. For some very strange reason, there are not many quotes online about succulents. And those that exist largely paint them in a negative light.
Now, how on earth could you find anything negative to say about that?! I did find this excerpt, and at first I swept by it without much of a second thought, but then it caught my attention and I find it rather revealing and thought-provoking.
The cactus thrives in the desert while the fern thrives in the wetland. The fool will try to plant them in the same flowerbox.
The florist will sigh and add a wall divider and proper soil to both sides.
The grandparent will move the flowerbox halfway out of the sun.
The child will turn it around properly so that the fern is in the shade, and not the cactus.
The moral of the story?
Kids are smart.” – Vera Nazarian
I love the idea of succulents and ferns together – they’re two of my favorite types of plants. I rarely put them together because my science brain explains that they require two distinctly different habitats. This passage outlines several ways the conundrum might be solved – compartmentalizing, controlling, compromising…. but they all have limitations and neither plant will flourish. I am reminded suddenly of the ways I try to rationalize the paradoxes of life. In the end, these ways of coping don’t provide for a healthy life either. It’s the child’s way that perfectly balances the dichotomy of the succulent and fern, ensuring the survival of both plants. Our lives can be described as a balance act between opposing forces, and finding that balance is key to living a rich life. It’s hard to find that sweet spot, where you can feel the tension of multiple pulls and channel that energy into standing strong. Just as the child understands, the key is in your orientation.
This made me re-evaluate my own orientation. Turning to face the light brings everything back into perspective. There is renewed energy to pursue blessing instead of cursing, to find beauty instead of debris, to embrace hope and not despair, and to rejoice in the grace of God who makes all things new. And all this because I couldn’t find a poem about succulents.
May you be renewed as you nurture the succulents and the ferns in your own life today.
Blessings to you,