Ode to a Metaphor: This Basil Plant is My Life 

Fragrant, verdant, lush, and admittedly infested with fruit-flies, this basil plant brought with it joy and hope from the moment I brought it home: sitting on the windowsill soaking up the golden rays of the afternoon sun with its chlorophyll receptors, it was a symbol of prosperity and contentment. How many happy hours spent tending its needs, hoping the bare minimum of water and sunlight were the only things required for it to flourish! How many dreams of delicious pesto! How many covetous, wasted hours holding onto those ambrosia leaves yearning for an ever-increasingly higher yield, hoarding something so temporary as a fucking store-bought basil plant! Ah, delicious, delicious basil…

Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. Et tu, Brute? How quickly the mighty fall, et-cetera and so forth.

In a short span of time and severe lack of accountability and not paying attention to things I really should have, the basil plant withered and died. Gone was the Life from its happy disposition, and in its wake, Death’s brown hands crept along it’s stalks and stems, stealing life and replacing it with putrefaction. Innocent white buds so full of hope died and blackened atop their lofty perches. Stiff and rigid with Death, the leaves no longer thickly jostled and tickled the senses, but whispered haunted memories of life and promises banished from existence and dashed to the floor.

Grief-stricken and not more than a little aware that this plant was made manifest of mistakes and regrets, my failures and my inability to do anything fucking right, my ineptitude and unworthiness, harried by neglect, abuse and self-loathing and thoughts of “why me?”, I placed the basil outside to deal with it later.

Ah, Metaphor! Alack!

Anguish overtook me and I retreated to my bed to hide from the world, to bury my mistakes and despair and scream into tear absorbing blankets. Possibilities and promises as yet unfulfilled haunted me in my waking moments and in my dreams: if only I had been more diligent, more self-aware. If only I had appreciated what it was that I had, in the moment, and not taken it for granted like I promised I wouldn’t… if only… 

Days passed as uneventfully as days do when grief overtakes you. One morning after a freak thunderstorm electrified the night, Life called to me and roused me from my bedridden state. I opened the back door which was previously heretofore closed not only on the basil plant-cum-failings as a human being, but on all Life itself, and… lo! A stem had re-discovered the green swirling beneath the decay! Life had miraculously found a way to overcome Death! Beyond all logic and reason! Flaunting laws of biology and physics and even some planes of metaphysics! Life had returned, and all was not as it seemed! All was not lost! Hope returned! Time was all that was needed to breathe Life into something gone and neglected and abused and sad. Time was where I went astray, and ironically it was all that was required to rejuvenate failed dreams, the only salve the plant and I needed. There, all along. Time!

Metaphor! Can I never escape you? Are you to be my constant companion?

My life is this basil plant. This basil plant is my life.

Also, gotta be real honest… could have done without all this grief and pain to get the lesson, Universe. Thanks. Fuck you, too. Asshole. And now I have a shrink to go with my basil plant. Great.


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