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My love affair

Sitting one afternoon in my living room, listening to soft, favorite music, I suddenly realized it was four o’clock in the afternoon. I just had a cup of decaffeinated coffee, thoughtfully sent by my Chicago-based daughter Gail. Of course, I was much appreciative of her thoughtfulness—caffeine-rich coffee is not for me. It palpitates my diagnosed enlarged heart.

Having illnesses common to aging people is not surprising, and I am embracing arthritis, hypertension, blurry vision to cataract infected eyes, and high cholesterol.

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I instinctively stood up and rushed outside to my small garden. There I saw my myriad of green, yellow, red, white, purple variegated plants—the apple of my eyes. I feel they are much alive and happy to see me, smiling and gently dancing with the gentle afternoon breeze. My devotion and care for their needs of water, vitamins (fertilizers), and loving small talk are what they all look forward to. They are the first things I look forward to seeing in the morning. They light up my eyes as I feel a rush of adrenaline. Yes, I am a certified happy plantita!

There are somber days when their leaves are yellowing, devoured by hungry worms or seemingly lifeless. Seeing them in such a situation makes me feel forlorn. I ply them with concerned queries—how are you, what’s troubling you, how can I help you. I know in my heart they have feelings, because they have lives. One day they, too, will surrender to the inevitable. I hate to even think about it.

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Like people, plants have individual differences. I can’t treat different varieties with the same care. Some are always thirsty, needing to be watered twice or once daily. Some live without making a fuss, without much attention. Watering them is only needed when their soil becomes dry, signaling thirst.

A younger sister’s hubby jokingly commented to her: “Mabuti pa mga tanim mo, inaalagaan mo na may pagmamahal (Your plants are lucky, you lovingly care for them)!” My sister, too, is a certified plantita. I smile at the thought that if my husband were alive these days, he would turn into a green-eyed monster over my other loves.

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Daylinda Viacrucis Quiroz, 78, is happy with her plants, which keep her company during these pandemic times.

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