My morning ritual involves spending time with plants and trees. I pull up a chair and sit close to a bush I love or next to the hardy aloe vera cluster whom I have never really attended to as much as I should have. Sometimes I put my arms around the jasmine bush, now pruned and skinny. The mighty mango trees; mighty because the thick trunks speak of many years on this earth have me intimidated. I put out a hand on the trunk so that I feel connected. I stand underneath the spreading canopy of the guava tree that had white flowers a few weeks back and that’s now bearing tiny fruit. I ruffle through the curry leaves tree. There’s a tree that’s suspected to be Amaltas (why hasn’t it borne any flowers?). There’s another one with tiny red flowers, which look more like thin strips of colour. There’s a tree of indeterminate name and lineage. It’s thorny and looks hardy. There’s peepal in the vacant lot next door, the heart shaped, fresh green leaves showing up above the boundary wall. And the little flowers growing from a green clump of what looks like grass open when the sun is out and close at sunset.
When I read an article in Wall Street Journal on how a woman and her children made friends with a tree and felt happier and calmer I immediately thought of my tree gang. Just the thought of spending time quietly near a tree made me feel happier.
Years ago, I read a book on emotional quotient. It talked of the benefits of being connected with nature. At a workplace, even a single live plant can bring peace. No wonder, little potted desk plants are so popular.
All of us do not have the luxury of huge gardens or even easy access to green spaces. So balcony gardens, hanging plants, planters in corners can bring in the much needed greenery into our homes. The simple act of watering the plants, nurturing them, watching them grow can be soothing. If you are mindful in the time you spend with your plants, it can bring much peace.
For most of us, there’s a lot of anxiety bubbling inside us, as we navigate the pandemic. Distractions help only for a short while but something as simple as nurturing a plant can lead to a mindset shift. From trying to subdue the stress, you are actively managing it through your green friends. Being surrounded by plants also boosts creativity. I wasn’t aware of this but that might be the reason I like to think and do my writing sitting under a tree.
Having some green plants even if you live in a small flat is doable and has plenty of emotional benefits. And of course, along with our own emotional well-being, we are contributing to the well-being of our environment.