Drabble 97 – Heliotropism

Heliotropism

People often tell me that they wish they had the patience for gardening. I do too. I have a garden that I love very much, but it’s still a chore to get out there and pull weeds and check for pests. I don’t enjoy taking out the compost, especially when a bunch of fruit flies assault my face when I open the bin. I hate ants, even when they help my peonies open.

I tried and failed to keep a garden as a kid. Every plant that died was a mark of failure, but I still couldn’t bring myself to water with any regularity or keep the slugs off the strawberries. A few days ago I realized I’d lost a cantaloupe plant that had appeared to be doing well, likely because I’d forgotten to water it. I still felt guilty.

Even so, I’m looking at all the plants on my office windowsill, all of which are thriving. I’m thinking of the peonies and roses I cut this morning and put in a vase downstairs. It took two years for those peonies to bloom, but now they’re filling my living room with their sweet scent. I might have lost a cantaloupe, but I still have something.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

HELIOTROPISM

(n.) Ancient Greek ἥλιος (concerning the sun) + Latin tropus (movement, turning)

The tendency to move toward or away from the sun.

The clouds are thick, thicker than he remembers them being as a child. He remembers tufts of fluffy white floating across the sky, but children no longer have the same concept for what ‘sky’ is. To them, it means a soup of water vapor that coats the world in warm, wet heat. To him, it means something blue and forgotten.

He tends his greenhouse with great intensity, preparing for the moment when the sun finally appears, however brief. He switches off the lights and pushes pots into position, angling them so they can swallow even a moment of warm light.

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