Living Lesson

Sunday, April 18, 2021 (Nine days before April’s full “Pink Moon” rises nearest to earth.)

Early today, one-quarter of the coming full Pink Moon descended in the western sky and reflected brightly in my bedroom window, awakening me. The bright quarter moved quickly, and before my head, feet, and camera were in gear, its light had skidded north, becoming hidden in a location where trees obscured my view of the horizon. Shucks, an easy shot missed.

Around midnight, few suddenly-awakened humans are at peak performance. I decided to read, and while preparing instant coffee nodded to a happy basil plant beside the sink. That plant had given me a little learning journey.

Maybe because my mind had been dwelling on moon travels or on seventeen-year appearances of the cicadas, I recalled my history with the basil plant. Weeks ago, I picked it up in a supermarket. Alive, tall and leafy, it rose from a bit of damp soil in a tiny container. The instructions, to set its container in water, seemed easy, I did and the plant lived.

In time, after I forgot to keep the basil wet, it drooped. I enjoyed having occasional fresh basil and wondered if the plant might thrive by a replanting in a bigger pot. I popped the sad basil into another container with lots of soil and plenty of water. The plant regenerated and bloomed.

This plant-keeper forgets, and sure enough, before long I again focused on the plant and it looked completely dead. Oh well, I shrugged, who needs a live basil plant anyway?

My inner person tugged against my impulse simply to pull and toss that basil. A better self nudged to me that death by neglect could have been avoided. Having nothing more to lose, why not water the plant before tossing it, just see what might happen?

The next morning, the plant surprised me, its lower leaves slightly lifted. The larger top leaves still were dead. I wondered if cutting away the heavy top leaves and reducing stems might better help the lower part regrow, but decided to let the plant be. Next morning, the entire basil was alive and even its highest leaves regenerating.

A renewed lesson to my better self: I love the moon’s various appearances, the cicada events, the intelligences of bees and octopuses, and also now, a simple basil plant. That almost-easy toss-away has reinforced an always-human need to keep working toward understanding, caring, and nurturing.

Dear Friends: A salute to rigid cycles: those of astronomic movements and of life itself. Diana

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