My little cactus

I love my little cactus. I got him (him? I suppose so) about half a year ago, and the little guy’s going strong. He’s been through a lot, like the time I left him in my dorm over winter break, or the time I whacked him off the shelf and the dirt went everywhere.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like, to be a plant. Can trees feel the wind in their leaves? Do cacti feel safe, hidden behind their spikes? Does my little bamboo plant feel lucky, or does it feel just constant growing pains?

For millennia people have used earth, water, air, and fire to categorize personalities. You can see this in…well, a lot of things. Harry Potter houses, for instance. Zodiac signs each align with one of the elements.

I’ve always wondered…why not plants?

An “ivy” personality is far different than an “elm tree” personality. Seaweed, cactus, basil, lilac, lettuce…or just “plant,” I suppose.

It depends on whether you think there are only a handful of different personalities, or an infinite amount. Sure, you can categorize people all sorts of ways, but none seem to quite be accurate…

Well, anyhow, what I’m trying to get at is: what plant are you? Not in a silly, ice-breakery sort of way, but which do you most identify with? The endurance and safety of a cactus? The bamboo, which grows quickly and with abandon? The strong oak tree? The weeping willow? Delicate lily pads? Expansive grasses? Nuanced herbs, like oregano or thyme? The beauty and complexity of a flower? Resourceful vegetables? Crawling vines? Clover, peeking up in sunny fields?

It’s more fun than the four elements, because there are far more possibilities, and have far more implications. And once you pick one for its positive attributes, you can look deeper and see the more telling traits…the way the cactus shields itself from the outside world, for example, or how the bamboo grows so fast it doesn’t take the time to enjoy where he is, or how the oak is so strong and steady that when it does fall it takes other trees down with it in a huge, crashing disaster.

It’s a tool to help us look deeper at ourselves. And even if it seems silly, give it a try. You might be surprised at what you find.

I think I’m a lily pad. Perhaps with a flower, now and then.

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