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These Hands

by Lindsay Harmon

Purple flower with purple leaves
Tradescantia pallida, purple heart spiderwort

It all started the day I left home. It was cold outside, but I felt hot with excitement and determination to find something new. It seemed like every minute was lasting another lifetime and I may never find the comfort to grow roots again. My purple leaves give off the impression that I might be royalty or luxurious, but I couldn’t fake that if I tried. With my roots ripped clean off, I had ambition running through my xylem and nothing else.

The hands that held me were shaking and it seemed they were radiating the anxiety that perhaps I should’ve been feeling myself, however I always tend to be a bit too distracted by the future to worry about resources in the current moment. Why worry about such frivolous things? When you worry, you suffer twice.

There was a sense of trust and hope that attached me to these hands, which was odd. These hands felt foreign to my skin, no chance we are made of the same stuff, but something seemed oddly familiar at the same time. It seemed like we could be experiencing all the same feelings but manifest them so vastly differently. They felt distant in that sense, because I knew that these hands would never know precisely what my emotions felt like, but that’s okay.

Really, it’s okay. It’s a funny thing when you feel alone. All of those months I had spent attached at the stem to my family and friends, I felt like none of them really knew me. Like I couldn’t even begin to tell them the truth about myself, even though we were right there next to each other. They looked at me all day long, but never actually saw me. How is that even possible? Well there I was in the hands of a complete stranger, of a different kind, that saw me instantly. They understood my will, without really needing to know where I had been or who I came from. Like it didn’t even matter to them.

They brought me to a special place that had just the most perfect energy. The sun was the perfect distance from my leaves, and it seemed so intentional. Intentional. That’s another thing. Back home they never even thought about the things they did. Not for long enough to really consider more than what we needed to survive. “There’s more sunlight over there. Our parents told us to follow sources of sunlight. Everyone lean that way.” End of story. No room to expand. No reason to question. No reason to try and live somewhere where there’s a chance of failure. The constant worry of survival kept them trapped in this bubble. So what we’re surviving? When the hell are we gonna start to live?

Sorry, we were in the middle of my story. I’ll return from my tangent if I must. I was placed in a glass of cool water by the other plants in the room and told to make myself at home. I began to take the air in and out and do just what I was programmed to do. Some days I would lean to the right, some to the left. Some days I would be tired and lay my leaves down low.

The hands returned when this would happen and give me what I needed to become energized. After a while they moved me to a bigger pot of soil. Some days the hands felt wet at the tips. I would pull my leaves up high and respire quickly to try and make the air nicer for the hands. I think it worked, but who really knows. We grew together and helped each other through the hard times. Some days the hands came close and brought with them a face and a mouth. The air would feel wonderful on these days. Warm. Simple. Easy. At first, I didn’t know what I was feeling. All I knew was that without those hands I would be nothing. When they came into the room, my flesh relaxed, but stayed firm. A warm blanket seemed to cover me and protect me from anything bad. I could lose the sun, the water, the air right in those moments and I could live simply in the presence of these hands for the rest of my life and be satisfied forever.

Months went by and our connection only grew deeper. I started to sense when I needed to breath harder, because the hands were having a bad day and needed some extra help. I sensed when I needed to save some extra water, because they might not come back to water me for a few days. But they always came back. Always. Because they loved me, and I loved them too. They don’t come around much anymore, and I’ve started to lose some of my purple color, but without those hands, I am nothing anyways. So, with that, I reflect on the happiness that I was able to bring into and receive from this world, and I wait patiently for what will come in my next world I live in. I can’t help but think about how the greatest love of my life came from those foreign hands that never spoke one word to me but knew me better than any plant I’ve ever known.

Lindsay Harmon is a 21 year old college student studying Environmental Biology. You can find her on Instagram @lindsay_harmon.

Photo by Delince from Wikimedia Commons.


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