I think it perceived my feelings that day a few weeks ago, when I stopped to consider what I would do with it when I moved out. I stood looking at it, thinking, “It’s in such a big pot, and my friends don’t have much room in their apartments. I bet no one will want it.”
And I felt sad when I thought that, because I want it, and have wanted it, ever since I spotted it, languishing in the gutter at Madison and 33rd Street back in 1993. I brought it home and nursed it back to health, and when I split with my husband it was one of the three plants I took with me to my new place.
It has done well in the 10 years since then. I often trimmed its leaves, took off the brown split ends, just like a real pony tail. I would playfully grab its tendrils as I passed by.
But since that day I made that assessment, and felt sad that I might not find a home for it, it has languished. One by one, its strands started turning brown and dying. It was as though it were retracting the life force from its own fronds.
This is an eerie parallel to what I have been doing with my entire space. I’m a very practical person, with a sentimental streak a mile wide. I’ve very nearly sobbed more than a few times, over the last few weeks, as I presented the last shows, and said hello and goodbye to friends and associates who I cherish. As I approached the final days here at Stage Left, I have been trying to retract some of my deep affection for the space, and to transmute that into anticipation of my loveandworktour. As I look around my living room at night, I try to superimpose the blue skies of Colorado, the living room of my LA buddies, and let go some of my attachment to my current lovely home. It’s been working and my angst is easing.
And while that has been happening, my ponytail palm has continued to lose leaves. Now all the old ones are gone; and there is nothing left but a very Seuss-ian pale green topknot of new baby leaves, sprouting from the top.
About five days ago, that bunch of sprouts drooped sideways. Its neck seemingly broken, my ponytail palm has started giving up the ghost. On Thursday it will go to the curb. I guess our love was symbiotic. If I am gone, it feels like it has no reason to live.
Or perhaps it knows that no one would ever love it like I have.
RIP Ponytail Palm. It’s been real.