Thursday, October 29, 2020


"Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy." -Saadi
Gracie is a fan of my new ponytail palm and also the pillows on the couch. 
Covid does not interfere one whit with her naps. 

Back in March, when the original wave of Covid 19 washed over us and cut us off from our familiar life of doing whatever the heck we wanted, whenever we so pleased, I was unexpectedly consumed by an odd yet highly specific yearning.

I wanted a ponytail palm

For years, I'd been aware of these sassy succulents with their crazy pouf of curly leaves, but never had I given them so much as a second thought. 

Leave it to the vicissitudes of an emerging pandemic to trigger an itch.

At that time, the prospect of going out shopping for such a frivolous purpose was unthinkable. And more importantly, impossible, because most stores were shuttered to actual people. 

There was the online option, and for a time I trolled the plant-selling websites hard, seeking out these spunky specimens and hovering my finger over the Add To Cart button. 

But something told me that I wouldn't derive the same sense of satisfaction from a digital purchase as I would from picking my very own ponytail palm out of an IRL line-up.

So I forced myself to wait. 

This story has a happy ending as sometime in August, I stumbled onto a veritable herd of ponytail palms at Molbaks, chose one as the cheekiest one of the group, and brought it home. 

In the early days of its life with me, the ponytail palm was a beacon of patience, of desires deferred, of the waiting game that Covid has forced us to play. I felt a certain triumph, well-chuffed indeed, as if I had accomplished something important by waiting five whole months to buy a sodding plant. 

But over the past fortnight, my pony palm has come round to symbolize something entirely different. It reminds me that maybe the good old days before Covid were more self-indulgent and carelessly spontaneous than was actually good for me. Maybe there is a gift in this virus-driven slowed-down lifestyle that is worth hanging on to, even though the stores are now wide open and full of the face-masked mobs. And maybe I don't want to go back to rushing out the door with my wallet every time a new whim flits through my mind.

Maybe, just maybe, Covid has taught me a few important things, and I don't want to go back to life as it was before.  

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