It was a cold morning in late June, and she was packing her bags, fretting about sunhats and hiking boots and cocktail dresses. By the size of the bags she would be away for a while. “Finally some peace of mind – and space all to myself”, the cycad on the kitchen windowsill sighed, relieved. She did not even say goodbye to her cycad friend. She rarely spoke to it. She thought that since its relatives had been around since the dinosaurs and they are known to push out one leaf per year when they choose to show signs of life, perhaps a word or two every five years would suffice.
The front door banged close and everything grew silent. For days. Until the sun broke out and the room filled up with song. Did you not know? If you listen carefully to the sunlight you will hear a faint tune, like a sun-fairy happily humming into your ear.
“Today is a good day to stretch my leaves” the cycad thought, with the sun-song whirling around the room. And it stretched, and stretched, reaching into all directions, until suddenly, two new fronds popped out. And a third one, still with its curlers on.
“Whoops”, said the cycad. “Oops. I was going to save those for the moment when she chose to speak to me again.” In vain it tried to curl and roll and stuff them back into the cone. Oh well, maybe I can make a point of protest with them instead.” And it continued stretching and reaching and pushing in the sound of sunlight, until its new fronds were twice the length of the old ones, standing out like giant whiskers. “Now let’s see if she notices me at all” it said to itself, grooming the fresh, still curly leaves until they were sure to stand out.
Finally she came home. Unloaded her bag and busied herself with laundry, work, and cats for three days. On the fourth day she, an unlawfully bad plant owner indeed, remembered her green friends that might need water. And stared at the cycad, which stubbornly, insultedly showed her it had outgrown both its pot and its windowsill.
“You crazy dinosaur, you have gone cuckoo, you!” she exclaimed. And watered the cycad. And made a note of finding a bigger pot. And made a promise to speak to the cycad at least twice a week, if it promised her to make at least two fronds per year, and try to still fit that windowsill so the cats would leave it alone. Because in this household there is heart-space for both cats and a dinosaur mouse with giant whiskers.
(Helsinki, Finland; July 2015)