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Posts Tagged ‘century plant’

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

Taking a morning walk every day seems a mundane task. It’s exercise, yes, but so much more. Walking is my daily therapy.

This last week, I’ve been walking with a stroller. My daughter is home with her 8 month old while her husband works off-shore. She needs help with the baby while she works from home. We love having them here.

While walking, I stop to chat with neighbors. People are in less of a hurry, and it shows in the way we linger in the shade and talk about the weather, the baby’s eyes, or how we are faring in the pandemic.

While walking, I stop to check on my neighbor’s century plant, now in full bloom. This plant has been in the process of blooming for ten weeks. It has been a source of wonder and hope for all who have seen it. These plants bloom once in their lifetime. After blooming, it dies. I posted it in April for “This Photo wants to be a Poem.”

Century plant in full bloom.

While walking, I discover Sesame Street songs. When Thomas gets fussy, the best antidote is Elmo. I didn’t know how many popular musicians have done songs with Elmo, Dave Marshall, Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, Adam Sandler, and many more. Even after he’s asleep, I keep listening. The songs are uplifting and catchy.

While walking, I may catch a poem of presence.

Morning walk with stroller
Elmo’s song La la la
la’s him to sleep.

Margaret Simon, draft

There are some wonderful #poemsofpresence on Twitter. Consider joining us. What mundane task is keeping you going these days?

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Watching. Noticing. Listening. There’s more time for being more aware these days. More aware of the nuances of nature.

Welcome to another This Photo wants to be a Poem episode. Observe. Notice. Research, if you will. Then write about 15 words or so as a snippet of a poem. Leave comments on other poems.

My neighbor has been posting pictures of her century plant almost daily for the last few weeks. I’d never heard of one before, but a century plant blooms once in its lifetime. And hers is about to bloom. Patience is keeping us waiting.

Century plant with moon, photo by Anne Darrah

I commented on one of her photos that this plant needed to be a poem. I can spend (waste) a lot of time down a research rabbit hole. Here are some quick bullets copied from Google about this plant.

  • Although it is called the century plant, Agave Americana typically lives only 10 to 30 years. It has a spread around 6–10 ft (1.8–3.0 m) with gray-green leaves of 3–5 ft (0.9–1.5 m) long, each with a prickly margin and a heavy spike at the tip that can pierce deeply.
  • Although century plants are quite long-lived — though not nearly as long as their name would suggest — they die right after flowering. As soon as flowers set seed and drop, the plant withers and dies.
  • The plant is called the “century plant” because of this “once a century” bloom (actually the plant lives an average of 25 years).
  • Agave plants are easy to grow, but they do have a few “needs” to thrive. They need at least 6 hours of direct sun and well-drained soils. Planting in well-drained soil is particularly important in preventing root rot, especially in North Florida where cooler winter temperatures may add stress to your plant.
  • The massive flower clusters (1-8 m long) are borne at the top of a very robust flowering stem.
Century plant taken 4/14/20 by Anne Darrah
Century plant full view, photo by Anne Darrah

Once in a Lifetime

Stairway to heaven,
one step at a time,
blossoms in the sky!

Margaret Simon, draft

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