A houseplant is dying. Tell it why it needs to live.

You can do it! Picture from here.

You can do it! Picture from here.

Dear houseplant of mine:

Life is better than death, that’s for sure. If there’s a chance that you can muster up your plant willpower and restore your health, you should.

There’s always a risk that life has value. And you know that, otherwise you would have already let yourself wilt by now, correct?

Oh I see. I haven’t had the time to set you in the sun correct? You feel confined to sitting on my desk, and you long to be like the big tree at school whose leaves turn a most brilliant shade of orange in the fall? Yeah…if I were you I’d be jealous too, but I still don’t think it’s worth letting yourself die.

Life has more value in death. When you die, there’s no coming back to this “body” of yours, sitting safely in your brown clay pot. You might claim that you’d rather be free. One side of the argument is that you’d have a reason to live. You could congregate with other plants like yourself and converse about the weather, the soil tickling your roots, and the worms squirming on the ground. True, maybe it’s a little boring in this house, where you absorb more light bulb light than UV rays. Maybe I’m not around that much and rather boring to talk to. Perhaps I neglect you sometimes and desert you for days on end. But haven’t we had good times?

Believe me, from an optimistic point of view, you have it much better than the outdoor plants. Being a houseplant is special. I can feel your leaves shivering in anxiety during the stormiest of nights when thunder shatters your non-existent eardrums and lightning bolts light your non-existent eyes up in fear. The plants out there suffer, and you are guarded by the brick and mortar that holds this house together. Regard the roof over your head not as a jail cell of sorts, but rather as a shield from anything that could ever endanger you.

I’ve read headlines of studies (not the actual studies themselves) that claim that talking to plants can be beneficial for us humans. So thanks for all that you’ve done so far, even though I don’t feel much different.

I need you to hold on to dear life. I need you to absorb the fertilizer I sprinkle on your soil and the water that I spray generously on your leaves.

Death is inevitable. You and I will both be dead at some point in time, but don’t let it happen without a fight. If life is meaningless, there’s no downside to preserving it, but any risk that it has value means extinguishing it would be bad.

In conclusion, I can buy you another plant buddy if I’m truly that hard to talk to. How about a beautiful pot of African violets? Or a nice sturdy cactus? Whatever floats your boat, just hold on for dear life.

Sincerely, Catherine

PS. I got this writing prompt from 642 Things to Write About.


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