Sunday, May 6, 2007
Pruning the Valentine rose~
My Valentine rose was dying.
I don't like to see plants die, and this plant was a Valentine gift that represented a less than healthy relationship. It arrived in bloom, a token of love more than an expression of it.
Its leaves began curling and dropping off, so I gave it more water. It got yellowish and sickly looking. I picked off the dead leaves, and repotted the plant thinking its roots needed to stretch.
Then I spotted tiny webs woven between the leaves. Nearly microscopic specks crawled across the strands like stealthy thieves. They must have been aphids. They'd been sucking the juices from the plant, these unseen killer parasites.
All the water in the world would have been futile; the veins were dry and had no ability to absorb what they needed.
Sort of a metaphor for my marriage.
Something's not right. It's not healthy and happy. It's stopped growing. So I give it what I think it needs, to no avail. Sometimes I don't care; let it die. Put it out of its misery.
Something that neither of us recognizes is sucking its life-blood, leaving the skeleton of what was once a vibrant blooming love.
I live as a parched twig in a rainforest, wondering what others know that I do not. Wondering what is the secret that fifty percent of married couples stumble across. Wondering what are the aphids that attack. I can't see them. They hide in anger.
I gently packed the sickly rose into new soil in a bigger pot. I pruned it back to nearly nothing. Then I washed the remaining leaves with soapy water to remove the aphids. I didn't hold hope for survival.
But today I see that there are tiny leaves beginning to emerge from the stems, tender leaves that promise growth and health. If I'm watchful, if I keep away the aphids, this plant might live, and even flourish.
The thing is, I don't know what the aphids that have attacked my marriage are. I don't know how to wash them away. I don't even know if I want try any more. It will take hard pruning to cut away the dead branches. There will be pain. Will it be worth it?
I'll watch my Valentine rose.
See: Where has the heart gone?