The first online sighting of my new book coming out in May, All I Need, is in the house. A listing for it is up on Goodreads. And here we go…

I am having a plant crisis. My ponytail palm appears to have been inflicted with those fuzzy white aphids. Or whatever they are. One day he was fine, and the next there they were. Even worse is that they’re spreading to my other plants. I’m afraid that everyone’s going down. No one knows where they come from. It could have been that the ponytail palm and three other plants were new. I bought them all at the Greenmarket this summer. Then I repotted them all in these really pretty pots with colored stripes from Anthropologie. So it could have been the soil. Or not.

Of course the same exact day the Stove Situation was resolved (defective thermostat part replaced! oven officially works!), Plant Crisis barged in. That’s one for the already packed Of Course file.

Thinking back, I intentionally picked this particular ponytail palm because he was scraggly. I chose him over the much more mature guy. I wanted to give him a chance. Kind of like Charlie Brown with his scrappy little Christmas tree. Plus he was calling out to me all like, “Pick me!” How could I resist? And all along his scraggly quality might have been a sign of susceptibility to aphids.

I’ve had plants attacked by those fuzzy white aphids before. Which is so frustrating because I am a plant person! I know from plants! But we are all helpless in the face of those unfriendly neighbors. They spread so quickly before that they took a bunch of my plants down. No amount of spraying helped. Now I’m fretting and spraying and hoping that my plants survive. But if they don’t…well, there are worse things.

9.11 Memorial, September 2012

Like most people I know, I was kind of having a bad week last week. Isn’t it fascinating how that happens? It’s like everyone is suddenly afflicted by negative energy at the same time, with no clue where it came from. Just like the aphids. Anyway, I wasn’t having the best week. Then I visited the 9.11 Memorial.

Perspective has been restored.

All of those little things that annoy us, every bad thing that happens despite our careful planning, the daily irritants that take up way more of our time and energy than they should…none of those things matter. What matters is that we are alive. What matters is that things get better. In a way, we should be thankful that we have the opportunity to deal with the annoying stuff. Because it means we get to enjoy the happy stuff, too.

Makes that long line at the post office a bit more tolerable, right?

My plants might die. Hopefully they will survive. Whatever happens, things will work out. And this experience will be a reminder of what’s really important.

14 thoughts on “perspective

  1. Thank you for this post (and the beautiful picture!).

    Like you, I was having a crap week last week. But yeah, perspective is a funny thing. Not to be Debbie Downer, but a friend of mine took his own life a couple of months ago. I am still heartbroken, but I try not to let the little things get to me as much anymore. Dude, I’m alive. That’s a great thing.

  2. Wonderfully written post, lovely photo. It occurs to me as I read your thoughts that the aphids are actually a higher life form than the plant. From a Buddhist perspective, spraying the aphids isn’t the best approach Karmic-ly. That being said, I’m not a plant person, having been raised by rabid plant people, and I like having a plant-free house. I’m glad this week is better than your last, and congrats in advance on All I Need! 🙂

  3. I had some crazy crazy stuff happen to me on Thursday and Friday–bad public transit experiences = lost and/or late. You do just have to take a step back sometimes and realize that your problems are usually not as big as a lot of other people’s.

    • Nancy! If I remember correctly, I tried the soapy water spray several years ago when this happened last. It didn’t work as well as the chemicals. I sprayed everyone with the plant bug stuff three days ago. So far, so good. By the way, I loved your comment on Facebook about your Peapack-Gladstone drive 🙂


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