The beauty of the natural world

Some people keep goldfishes, some people dogs. My dad keeps plants. He collects them, building a small forest in our living room. Yet his jungle is not limited to only that space. It tretches its roots through our our apartment, from the avocado tree in the kitchen to the blooming communal garden outside my window. With the water left from dinner he crosses the room to water his other precious children. 

Yet his green fingers were not genetically inherited it seems for neither my sister or I hardly took any interest of his flourishing hobby despite his efforts. Every spring he’d bring us outside to plant the bulbs, in a desperate attempt to illustrate to us the beauty of the natural world, the wonders of life. At the time, we liked it, although that probably had more to do with the curiosity of children rather than an appeal to the plants. However, as we grew up desire of growth lessened as the desire for my won weight to grow increased as well. We became occupied with books, tv-series and friends, no time for the fragility of plants. Yet my father continued to care for his jungle, even more so after the death of my grandmother. Immediately after touching ground he’d come home to water his darlings. They were growing larger everyday then, the avocado tree was no longer hiding in the corner but had found the courage and strength to compete with the refined order of the rest of the kitchen. Standing tall against the window its long arms stretched across the room causing who ever that sat at the table to curtsy to it’s grace.

When my father left the apartment, even if just for a day, the plants would cry. The Acacia would fold together it’s leaves in an expression of sorrow, despite the light days of the nordic summer. Anything longer and they wilted, perhaps from the lack of water, but most likely the lack of his love. Nothing could compare to his careful care, and despite our attempts to our try to water them was always inferior to that of my dad’s. Once he was away for three weeks at a conference in San Francisco and I’ve never seen such a bleakness, not even in the actors of movies. It was as if they’d been faced with the possibility that perhaps he would no longer return. With the sudden prospect of this deprivation of affection they grew smaller. My dad emailed us everyday to remind us to keep the plants supplied with care, including precise measurements of water needed for each plants. He too seemed affected by the lack of their presence, needing to confirm his love for them despite his absence. My sister and I did our best, we watered each plant carefully with the water left from dinner. We gave less water to the cactuses, more to the flowers who were about to bloom, and the rest of what was left in the bottle to my father’s favourite, the avocado tree. 

Yet in the end everything seemed futile. Nothing to replicate my father’s love and we returned from our vacation it seemed as if the jungle had been faced with drought, the plants hanging heavily over their fragile stems. While most of them recovered, it seemed our irresponsible endeavour had had an effect, and at the end of the week my father was still mourning the death of the tree.

by Rebecka

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Photos by Rebecka Kann