Today’s MOZEN: Lessons From A Fern

Today’s MOZEN: Lessons From A Fern

It certainly isn’t the most beautiful specimen of Boston fern.

But, a few years ago, it was.

That same plant was thriving — lush and deep green. I found a great spot for it and treated it with TLC, even misting it with cool water every day.

Then, early one Spring day, I decided to move it, at least temporarily, to a spot where it could get a little more sun.

I should have left well enough alone. . .

I forget it in that spot and it turned out to be a much hotter day than had been expected. Since, ferns like indirect sunlight, it burned — badly — and, began dropping leaves almost immediately.

No matter how hard I tried to reverse the process, the defoliation continued until there were a only a few, pathetic little sprigs remaining.

It seemed hopeless and friends suggested that I simply get rid of it and get myself a brand new, full, healthy one.

But, that’s not my way.

Perhaps, at least among my close friends, I have a well-earned reputation for hanging on to things way past their so-called expiration dates. These may include items of clothing that are down to their last threads (pun intended) to partially broken tools, and, yes, barely alive plants. My friends kindly call me frugal — not cheap, but frugal. This may be accurate but it doesn’t tell the full story.

Now, before you get the wrong impression, I am NOT a hoarder! My apartment, although full of the mementoes of my life, may be a little cluttered but it is also clean and orderly — sort of like my brain!

But, we are experiencing an environmental crisis that borders on catastrophe. And, perhaps the largest culprit in that crisis is WASTE.

We have become a disposal society where planned obsolescence is not even noticed; use something for a while, then simply throw it away where it magically disappears.

Well, where do you think it all goes?

Sneakers are a great example.

They are often made with sturdy materials that make them last — a good thing BUT also a bad one. It’s good because you need them to be durable when you wear them, but bad when you need to dispose of them — because they will take so long in the landfill to decay.

So, the key is to make sure that we get every last measure of use out of everything we consume — everything.

Now, back to the fern.

Since it was clinging to life, I made it a mission to see if I could restore it to good health. It had nothing to do with $ — they’re $20! It was a matter of giving it a chance to not only survive, but thrive once again — to simply not waste.

I found a good place on my porch for it this past summer — not too hot and with some filtered sunlight. I misted it and watered it regularly. And, it never moved from that spot.

Slowly but surely, I began to notice another green shoot rise from the brown remains of the former plant — then another — then another — until most of the dead, brown shoots were being replaced by small, fresh, green ones.

But, I had to remove it from its berth on the porch for the winter. So, I located a spot with similar logistics in my bedroom and placed it there. So far, so good. The plant has responded with even more new shoots! If it continues at this pace it will only be a few more months before that plant is just about as good as new.

Of course, this is also a metaphor.

Don’t be so anxious to throw things away. Use them in their totality. It honors them and you. Of course, I apply this most to human beings. No person is obsolete. They may be damaged and a mere vestige of what they once were. But, they still have value. And, with a little kindness and compassion can once again experience a full bloom.

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Frank LoBuono

Frank LoBuono

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