Live and learn

by Peter Twitchell

Live and learn! Until today I didn’t know plants needed food! Growing up I never gave this a second thought! I guess I never looked deep enough into the soil so to speak to realize that every living thing on this earth such as wildflowers like fireweed got their nutrients from the rich soil. I really took this for granted.

I was smart enough to know that plant life sprang up in the spring and life came forth from the ground such as wildflowers, berries and green leaves. Right now plant life is springing up and Spring has sprung. Oh my.

Ever since moving out of Bethel I’ve had more time to myself to think about things every day and living in elderly apartments watching our Elders planting flowers which months later after planting look so beautiful and making the world so colorful.

Out on the lawn I see a lot of weeds like dandelions but today I noticed there were some pretty yellow petals and purple petals growing out of the ground so I put a planter outside my apartment and put those beautiful plants with petals into the potter.

This led to my shock which brought me back to reality when an Elder asked me, “Did you put plant food in the planting pot?” Much to my chagrin and their chagrin I said, “What!?”

I heard the Elder echo back to me, “Plants need food just like we do!!”

Not wanting to expose my lack of knowledge about plant life and plant food I said, “What do you feed them?” (Ha ha ha ha ha ha)

Then I thought of the first miniature cactus that I put in a potter and how it looked like a deflated balloon a month later. I thought, “I didn’t feed it and I probably gave it too much water!”

I admit to you and to myself, “I don’t have a Green Thumb.” This I can honestly say is the whole truth and nothing but the truth!!

A few planting lessons from Mom or any of her sisters or my cousin Juanita might have helped me better understand a plant is much like a human who needs food to grow up from an infant, to be a strong individual.

Since moving out of Bethel and moving to elderly apartments in the Matsu valley I realized how much the Elders love to plant flowers and vegetables every spring and harvest, a month or two later. Their successful planting season beautifies and makes the world around me much brighter.

So when one of the Elders looked at my planting pot with the three little petals that I dug up from the lawn and transplanted and asked, “Did you put plant food in that potter?” I had failed to realize plants in the kingdom of living plants have cells that nourish them and make them strong and beautiful and colorful. I thought quietly to myself, “What?! Plant food?!” I echoed back, “What do you feed them?”

Live and learn, as long as I’ve lived I’ve never ceased to learn something new each day!!