Dear Quixotic Kid,
You mentioned in your intro that you love plants and cool looking rocks. What sorts of plants do you keep? Do you have any special cool rocks?
-Fellow plant and rock lover
Dear Me From the Past,
Get ready to rumble, friend. You just asked a question that I could talk about AT LENGTH. In fact, I've been called a crazy plant lady on more than one occasion, and am often the go-to plant babysitter for any of my friends that go on vacation. I'll try to keep this brief.
I currently have ten separate houseplants, and one small moss patch. Most of these were gifts and are healthy and thriving. I think that my plants generally are the typical houseplant type: one umbrella plant, one spider plant, one heart-leaf philodendron, a Christmas cactus, a regular cactus, some bamboo, and a succulent (this poor little guy looks like he's on the way out, though). I also have a very small ficus tree named Miguel that was a gift from my high-school Spanish teacher and a cyclamen that I resurrected from the brink of death when one of my roommates abandoned it when she moved. It just needed to be cleaned up and watered regularly, and now it's even blooming! I'm also plant-sitting another succulent and an aloe vera that a friend left with me over the summer and hasn't come to claim them yet. I'm not worried, I'll just foster them until she comes.
As for rocks, I started collecting ones that I thought looked cool just as small free souvenirs. This tradition grew until my desk was covered in rocks and my friends would often return from hiking or camping with a cool rock for me. Some of my favorites include a rock that I found in a parking lot just before commencing the most stressful drive of my entire life; one from the railroad tracks near my hometown; eight or so from different parts of the UK that a friend brought back from a study abroad; and two that were retrieved for me from a lake in Michigan that contain fossils that you can only see when the rocks are wet.
All this is well and good, but we also need to talk about geodes. Geodes are my one true love. So, so, very very ugly on the outside; glistening and sparkling on the inside. I have a geode about the size of a baseball that was given to me as a birthday gift, bought from a roadside stand. It was given to me in a brown paper bag with a rubber band holding the two halves together to complete the whole. It's gorgeous. It's chock full of small white crystals that glitter like crazy. I use them as very small bowl things on my desk to hold loose earrings, etc. Another of my friends gave me another geode dyed blue for another birthday. I also have a small piece of amethyst geode that I bought at a rummage jewelry shop and many shards of a smaller white geode that my brother and his wife brought me back from Nickel City. It was one of the best, sweetest surprises ever. They and their friends had pooled their tickets to get it for me, then they brought it over and we put it in a sock and hit it with a hammer until it broke.
I think one of the reasons that I like plants and rocks so much is their connection to nature. I don't go out in nature very often, as I'm more of the books-and-computers type than the hiking-and-camping type, but I love being surrounded by life. I grew up in a small town in the Midwest, so nature was everywhere out there. Here, it's more distant. Like, yeah, there's grass and trees, but it's not the same kind of haphazard, grow where-ever you can attitute that plants in the Midwest have. Houseplants and rocks give me a little bit of that here. My plants are big and I let them grow however they like. I put rocks all over my areas with no rhyme or reason. I'm trying to not get too romantic about all this, but I think that ship has officially sailed.