She shivered as she strolled toward the bed of tulips and daffodils blooming in vibrant red and yellow surrounded by bright green grass. The rose bush branches are green again with red tips indicating new growth. The sunshine is deceptively bright but not warm. Spring has sprung but Mother Nature’s orneriness is apparent with warm one day, chilly the next.
There are so many things to do but she’s content sitting here with my computer and the finches tossing thistle everywhere. It’s a good thing the junco’s don’t mind eating from the deck otherwise there would be lots of wasted seed. It’s a wonderful time … seeing everything reborn but then it raises the concern of what is already established.
Looking over at Grandma’s Christmas cactus blooming for Easter this year she’s at loss as what to do with her future. She’s been with her since 1981. Her Grandfather gave the plant to her Grandmother in 1940 for their wedding anniversary. She’s cared for it forty years now with a couple of close scares. Thankfully, for an eighty one year old plant it’s looking mighty fine right now. Will it handle another relocation? The difference in temperatures and water may be a factor like it was initially relocating to Jersey from Maine back in 2007.
She stockpiled up on well water and gradually introduced purified city water to the mix. She learned that the hard way when the cactus first came into her care. She wasn’t thrilled with well water at first and our beginning was a bit shaky. And our house was definitely cooler than her Grandmother’s especially during the months without the heat from the woodstove.
The cactus be with her until her death but then what… is the question. There’s also the cactus that Vic gave her when they began living together back in 2004. None of her children are really avid gardeners. At one point, she had hope for Chris but after taking him his cactus plants he had started in Maine to Virginia when she needed to downsize her indoor plants. It was heartbreaking seeing him promptly let them die from neglect. He put them on the front porch of his house. Out of sight, out of mind and they died. She had nurtured them for fifteen years. Grandma’s cactus can’t be trusted with him.
She looked at the millennials or gen y’s (1981-1996) and seeing no interest in tradition or family memories. She’s sorry if she’s labeling the majority, but from what she’s experienced thus far with her interaction, they’re too focused on instant gratification. Her oldest granddaughter can’t see past the Rave concerts and that scene. Some millennials aren’t afraid of being catalysts of change, but others are too busy, while some are galivanting around having soy chai lattes and attending hot yoga. Some give new meaning to the entitlement mentality. Vic’s children are classic examples of you owe me. Generation x (1965-1980) isn’t much better. They’re the misunderstood generation that’s still looking for themselves. Yeah, that describes her children quite well. Each building careers but not positive if it’s what they love. They want more things like the boomer generation but don’t want to be like their parents either. Generation z (1997- 2010) are socially aware, hashtag savvy. Some have a foothold in the government, while others have taken an entrepreneurial stance. Yes, they’re outspoken on their needs but not so much concerned about the boomers or gen x’s. Again, she sees personal gratification without any appreciation of history or tradition. Gen Alpha ( 2011-2025) has had to bear a lot of upheaval with Covid-19. The results aren’t all in as to how well they endured being forced into a virtual learning world, isolated from social interaction.
“There is no creation without tradition; the ‘new’ is an inflection on a preceding form; novelty is always a variation on the past.” -Carlos Fuentes,
So she’s at a loss on what to do to maintain Grandma’s and their cactus’s safe keeping. Or is it simply to much to hope for that someone will nurture and love the plants with their memories.
“Tradition is a guide and not a jailer.”- W. Somerset Maugham