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I’m not in the habit of paying much attention to those shopping circulars that clutter up the mailbox, but this one caught my eye:
 
Resurrection Plant
The House Plant That Never Dies!
Keeps “Coming Back to Life” for Fifty Years
No Matter How Dry You Leave It!
 
I’ve been in a pretty dark place lately, so my first thought was to question Resurrection’s insanely optimistic premise. Eternal Symbol of Hope & Rebirth!? All I could think of was why awful things we thought were finally gone just keep resurfacing: Bellbottoms. Whooping cough. Unfettered market capitalism.

Upon closer inspection, I saw that Resurrection wasn’t so much a plant as a plan to survive the Apocalypse:
 
NO Water?
NO Sunlight?
NO PROBLEM!
 
The plant, promised the ad, “‘comes back to life’ from a dormant brown ball … It can survive a full fifty years without water or light.”

Resurrection’s appeal was growing. I, too, sometimes feel like curling up into a dry brown ball and laying low for awhile. Plus, I’m always on the lookout for things I can neglect without consequence. Children, husbands, pets, bills—not so forgiving, except for the dog.

With Resurrection, however, once the Apocalypse or the dereliction of duty passes, all you need to do is add water.

So even though Resurrection looked like green plastic dreadlocks atop a cheap bowl, I took out my credit card and placed my order. If anything failed to satisfy, I could return it for my money back.

Which is a lot more than you can say about kids and husbands.

An unassuming mailer arrived a few days later. I tossed it onto the kitchen table and forgot about it. After all, the whole point was inconsequential neglect. It’s not like I’d sent away for baby chicks needing immediate revival
under a heat lamp after a traumatic night with FedEx.

Eventually I got around to opening the mailer. Most of its contents consisted of advertising for various bunion cures. Clearly the target consumer craved relief from all kinds of suffering. Then came the box that held the real treasure—my Resurrection.

The bowl in which life would begin anew looked like one of those plastic domes on the super-sized Slurpees from seven to eleven, except without the hole for the straw. There was a small bag of what appeared to be kibble or, more accurately, kibble dust. Another bag contained a mass of shriveled threads stuck to something resembling a desiccated walnut. As instructed, I rinsed everything and added water. Then I sat back to watch life unfold.

Within minutes, a couple of shrunken fronds limply rose above the mass of what was starting to look like freeze-dried seaweed. I was hopeful. After one hour, if the picture on the box was any guide, Resurrection would look like the lettuce garnish on a platter left out in the hot sun. After three hours, it would rehydrate into its full-blown glory.

I read more about what awaited me. That’s when the first seeds of doubt crept in. The instructions printed on the inside of the box, the ones you can’t see until it’s too late, demanded that the plant and bowl be rinsed thoroughly, the water replaced daily for the first week. This wasn’t part of the bargain. But isn’t doubt always an aspect of faith?

I read on, only to discover that Resurrection ”prefers” semi-shade and “prefers” to dry out several times a year. This was beginning to sound like an alcoholic relative intermittently committed to rehab. Or a houseguest who promises her visits will be no trouble, except she “prefers” eggs over easy and toast lightly buttered with her fresh-squeezed orange juice.

The instructions also advised, “Don’t be afraid of any mold you see.” I wasn’t so much afraid as annoyed, but, since practicing forgiveness was in keeping with the theme, I breathed deeply and went on with my day.

Several hours later, I took a peek, when full vitality was promised. Resurrection had definitely progressed beyond the seaweed stage. As the box noted, the plants resemble moss, and it did indeed look like the feminine hygiene products our ancient ancestors were forced to use before the advent of tampons.

Dutifully, I rinsed Resurrection and replaced its water daily for the first week. The only change was the growing mold.

“What is that thing on the windowsill?” my husband asked.

Instead of giving me a pass on neglect, Resurrection just screamed out a silent rebuke.

There is a time for everything, and it was time to put my experiment in the trash. Relieved, I slid the gelatinous mess into a bag and put it out for the garbage pick-up.

I’m glad to have a guilt-free windowsill again. Besides, now Resurrection has gone to a better place, with the plastics in the landfill that have also found eternal life.

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