I recently reconnected with an individual whom I knew well in college. It is Good to be in touch again. It seems that eons have passed between then and now, and Life, like the wind and the rain in the desert, has carved us into new shapes during all this time; nevertheless, we are both still at our cores the same people we were then, and it is a lovely reminiscence.
As I have thought back through the years, all sorts of tiny memories have resurfaced. One in particular: my rubber tree plant.
My parents drove down to visit me during my first year at college. I had just finished tidying my dorm room, and had propped the door open for fresh air while awaiting their arrival. They had brought with them a gift -- a small rubber tree plant. My mother had potted it, for reasons I never learned, into a small black cast iron cauldron. When my parents entered the hallway of the dormitory, they put the plant in its cauldron on the floor, and then gave it a push so that it appeared, by itself, in the doorway of my room. WHY HELLO, CAULDRON PLANT. It was hilarious.
The rubber tree plant had the most marvelous way of growing. The reddish, triangular apical meristem would expand and elongate; upon reaching a certain size, it would split and the next glossy leaf would unfurl. The tiniest bit of the apical meristem appeared anew, nestled at the base of the new leaf, and the process would repeat. It was fascinating.
I had that plant from freshman year, through to my junior year, when there was an unfortunate incident: a squirrel (of which there were a great many on campus) wiggled through the slightly ajar window of the living room of the dorm suite in which I lived; the squirrel not only gnawed a hole in the bottom of my book bag, but also consumed the apical meristem of the rubber tree plant. Alas. The plant no longer grew, and fairly soon thereafter, it perished.
I was quite sad. It had been so very soothing to watch its leaf growth over time, and its cauldron pot was always a source of amusement. Godspeed, rubber tree plant.
Perhaps, some day, I shall find a new rubber tree plant. I may not ensconce it in a cauldron, but I will thoroughly enjoy watching it grow.
This lovely rubber tree was found here: