I’m having this dilemma. Our front porch is covered in fern plants and begonias, but it is late into November and even though I’ve tried to make them last as long as possible, they’re dying minute by minute. I had thought about putting the plants in the garage to try and make it through the winter, but I think it’s better to just let them go. I have this weird attachment issue to anything living and plants are just one of those things. I name each of them and talk to them as if they’re a living entity with a personality. I know this may sound strange but I’m one of those eccentrics who probably would have been better served living in the deep south.
My dilemma isn’t exactly with the plants this year, but with a small bird who has found his home in our hanging fern plant. I’ve appropriately named him Johnny after an old, dear goldfish(check out my past blog post about Johnny the goldfish, it’s still one of my favorites I’ve ever written). Anyway, I’ve watched this bird stay in the fern even though his mother and brother and sister birds flew far away. I’m not sure if he has problems flying, but he stays very close and never ventures far. He’s little but he’s plump, so he must be eating well and I’m sure a fern is a fine place for winter. Thus my dilemma; if I get rid of the plant I will be leaving Johnny without a home.
Yesterday I asked my father, a lover of all animals, what to do. “Throw the damn plant away. He’s a bird. He’ll find another home.” I asked Alex, who deeply understands my attachment issues. “I don’t care what you do but the bird will find another home.” I’m sure they’re both probably right, but I just don’t feel good about the demise of Johnny’s home, dating back to my years reading and watching the movie The Secret of NIMH when the farmer’s plow would be uprooting the home of Mrs. Frisby. But I digress.
How would you feel if you drove home and when you got there it no longer existed? Yes, I know we’re talking about birds, but still, I wonder. To many people I’m sure this sounds childish and possibly even immature or innocent, but I put a lot of thought into these things. I probably should put more thought into things like the economy or Obamacare, but the reality is, to me, the demise of a bird’s home is just more important and I have more control.
And then I started thinking about John Denver & The Muppets Holiday Show. Do you remember the song Alfie? If not, I’ve included it below. “So in your Christmas prayers this year, Alfie asked me if I’d ask you, say a prayer for the wind and the water and the wood. And those that live there too.”
Maybe we complicate life. Maybe it doesn’t matter how fantastic a front porch looks, dying plants and all, if it means a bird has a home. Maybe the reality is I like my little bird friend. In some small way, he makes me feel needed.
And so I think I’ve decided…the fern plant stays. And hopefully, so will Johnny.