The leaves on my houseplant were yellow and limp, except for the ones that were brown and dead. When I leaned over to give the poor thing a final sip of water, my arm started tingling. The closer I got to the leaves, the stronger the tingling. Was the dying philodendron taking revenge, shooting a death ray at my innocent arm?
This required a lunch confab with Sami, the plant whisperer.
She said, “You were feeling the plant’s energy. The plant might communicate through the energy, to tell you how to revive it.”
Here was my chance to be one with nature, without the inconvenience of going outside.
Sami said, “Ask the plant yes/no questions. Something that’s obviously a no. Like, are you on the patio? Feel the tingling. Then ask an obvious yes. Like, are you in the bedroom? The yes energy will feel different than the no. After you can tell the difference, you move on to questions about what it needs to get healthy. You’ll be great at this. I knew you were a closet nature-lover.”
I was feeling oneness already.
“Most important,” Sami said, “you have to ask permission to be inside the plant’s energy.”
After lunch, I ran straight to the bedroom, where the philodendron was wheezing out a death rattle. I leaned over, giving it an air hug. “Are you on the patio?”
Instead of tingling my arms this time, a downdraft of energy ruffled the hairs on the back of my neck. The plant was talking to me. Energy on the back of my neck meant no.
“Are you in the bedroom?”
Once again, the back of my neck was alive with vibrations.
But, was it more intense? Less intense? I couldn’t tell. I tried another yes. “Are you sick?”
The vibrations were definitely more intense. Then again, maybe not. I closed my eyes and tilted my head back in concentration. Aha! Now, the energy was brushing my face. Eureka. Energy on my face meant yes.
I opened my eyes. Damn. The ceiling fan was on.
When I need really smart answers, I rely on magic—I douse with a pendulum. When it takes me an hour to decide which sweater to wear, I ask the pendulum. The days I look really put together, that means the pendulum picked my outfit.
I held the pendulum (bargain model: car keys dangling from a leather shoelace) in front of me. “Show me how the plant will say yes.” The keys swung side to side. “Show me how the plant will say no.” The keys swung in a circle. I repeated the exercise. Same result.
“Is the plant on the patio?”
The pendulum keys swung in a circle, for no. Excellent.
“Is the plant in the bedroom?”
Side to side, yes. Fabulous. Oneness, here we come. Today I save the plant. Tomorrow I save the planet.
Time for the big questions: Do you need more water? More sunlight? A different owner? Then I remembered Sami’s final instruction. Get permission.
“Is it okay to be in the plant’s energy?”
The keys swung in a circle.
No? What do you mean, no?
“Does the plant want to talk to me?”
The keys spun faster than the ceiling fan.
Obviously, the pendulum was hard of hearing.
I shouted. “Does the plant want to talk to me?”
The rotation of the keys sped up.
“Stop kidding around. Does this plant want to talk to me?”
The keys rotated faster, the circle wider and wider. A tornado. My dreadlocks whipped around my head.
That’s it. The budding romance between the leafy world and me is off. I wanted to be one with Nature, but Nature didn’t want to be one with me.