Friday, February 13, 2015
RIP Lemon Tree
Thanks for indulging me on the Henry Miller yesterday. I really liked that book. Cynical and grumbly, yes, but also beautifully descriptive and even celebratory in places. He had a real soft spot for the American South, especially New Orleans and the Southwest, which he seemed to think had genuine character -- unlike New York, about which he had nothing nice to say.
Remember the lemon tree Dave bought me at the end of January? Well, it has not come to a good end. I know -- already! Within days after Dave brought it home it began to lose its leaves. They dried, curled up and fell off. We removed the fruit, thinking it might be draining the plant, but that didn't cure its dropsy. It looked worse and worse in the ensuing days until finally, yesterday, the last of its leaves gave way and it was down to bare twigs.
Now, I've had a lot of plants in my time and I have never killed a plant that efficiently. I was sure it was faulty from the beginning -- and it wasn't cheap! -- so yesterday morning I took it back to the florist. I vowed to be calm but assertive, and carefully mentally prepared my argument. When I got there, though, the florist lifted the tree out of its decorative ceramic pot, and I heard a rush of water. "There's your problem," she said. "It's standing in water."
"Well, then you shouldn't have bought it," the woman said -- a bit snippily, I thought.
Again, no argument there. I left it in the shop and departed. But then I thought about the tree all day, wondering if perhaps it would survive if we drained it well and got it in the ground (or a big pot) outside in the spring. So I stopped back in to the florist in the evening, and lo and behold, the tree was still there, sitting sadly on a shelf in the back room. They hadn't thrown it out. I retrieved it and now it's sitting sadly on our windowsill. Its odds are not good, but we'll do what we can.
At school, I participated in the first-grade interviewing project again. I didn't give them a talk this time, like I did in past years, which frankly was just fine with me. But I did allow them to come to the library and interview me about my job, and in return I was allowed to choose a hand-colored smiley face from a bag. How could I resist this one, looking as it does like a sunburned alien? Best smiley face ever.
(Top photo: A van near Willesden Junction on Feb. 1.)