Thanks for the oxygen.

May 17th, 2014, 12am

I’m scared, sometimes. I worry, a lot, that I’m not living my life the way that I should be.

I live 940 miles from my parents’ house. I’d have to drive 15 hours—plus a couple for traffic in Chicago—to get to the people to whom I owe everything.

I can’t justify being so far from them, so I usually just don’t think about it.

My grandmother is an artist— her watercolors hang on every wall in my house. She made sure I grew up with an eye for color, detail, and beauty. I learned to prefer odd numbers at a young age. She put a color wheel in my Christmas stocking in 5th grade.

My father, her son, paints with flowers. Our gardens are meticulously planned so that something is always blooming. I hated working in that garden. Pulling weeds seemed futile since they’d just grow back the next day. I poured my adolescent insecurities, frustration, and fear into that garden.

I found my first college job in the North Carolina Botanical Garden. I spent hours weeding and raking paths. As I wove decorative patterns in the gravel paths, my mind always wandered home. I poured my homesickness, guilt, and fear into that garden.

I read, once, that talking to plants helps them to grow. It makes perfect sense. You breathe in my breath, plant. Thanks for the oxygen.

My roommate and I went to the gardens at Duke University yesterday. She sat by the fish pond and talked to the coy; I told my secrets to some alluim.

Today, I moved my mint plant to a larger pot. It used to be pretty mobile, but it’s starting to get too big. In a year I’ll leave this place—the place I’ve called home for the past three years. I probably won’t be able to take my plant with me. I’ll probably move even further from my parents’ home.

Wherever I end up, I’ll have to find a garden to talk to.

Maybe I’m just hoping for some roots.

Christine said thanks.

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Samantha Harrington

Eternal optimist, wanderer, soul-searcher. Senior at UNC; aspiring journalist. I don't own a parachute. Powered by hazelnut coffee, Joan Didion, sunflowers, and good friends.

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