Roots and Shoots

The plants on my windowsill have been growing pale and leggy with neglect, so the other day, I transplanted the most needy of the lot. One of them had been pushed off the windowsill in the midst of a cat-fight months ago; it was lacking dirt and trying to hold itself together in a cracked pot. This plant was my first patient. After some loving attention, it is still struggling, though I am hopeful it will overcome the recent stresses it has faced.

My Christmas cactus was my second patient. It had outgrown its small pot and was craving a larger space in which it could stretch its roots—spread out a bit. I had no idea how bad it had become until I slid the roots from the pot. It was—essentially—all root. There was little dirt in amongst the tangled, pot-shaped ball. This plant has begun to recover from the stress of roots that were too tight.

The third plant to warrant my attention was purchased as a miniature plant, but had clearly moved beyond “miniature” status. A new, larger pot, and it is doing just fine, thank you. This plant is standing straight and tall, undaunted by its early days tagged with a “miniature” label. It is healthy and shiny and reaching toward the sun.

The experience of re-potting these plants has made me see that sometimes, we also become “pot bound.” We long for more in our lives, and we look for change—something new or a new way of doing things. We might need to stretch our own roots and move on to another phase in our lives. We might start something new or end something that isn’t working. We might re-plant ourselves in a different location, putting down roots in a new area, or simply spreading our roots where we are as we readjust the path of our journey. Or, we might, instead, send up new shoots by taking on a new project or a new way to challenge ourselves. Whatever you choose, I hope you find the space you need to stretch, to spread your roots toward stability, to grow tall, and to stand proud.


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