I just said goodbye to a few plants I've known and loved.
I'm a little sad, even if a couple of those plants were dwarf Alberta spruces and, having pulled them out of their cheerful green glazed pots without gardening gloves on (so macho of me!), they left little thorny spikes all over my hands.
(Who am I kidding? I'm blinking back tears as I type.)
The spruces' spines seem to have more teeth than they really do. They seem to embed themselves in the skin and they gnaw and they prick. You feel itchy and even a little bloody. But then you dust your hands off and they come out too, with docility. It's a little like magic.
Dead plants: they make me feel like a failure.
I see the little plant corpses and feel I've failed them– they trusted me blindly and I, in turn, did not repot them promptly; did not water them enough; gave them too little plant food. Really, I forsook them.
I lost them.
Why is it that sometimes it takes small, nearly insignificant details to make us feel the hurt that bigger things do not seem to impact upon us?
Curious about the title? It comes from the poem "One Art" by Elizabeth Bishop. You should read it.