I water it every day, marveling as it changes shape and spreads its fledgling leaves, and I wonder about us, about life; how we come compact in a little seed, an embryo, cooked to perfection in our mothers' wombs, whether they be flesh or earth, created with all we need to flourish, but still needing that insistent, pressing protection to squeeze us out into the world. We must be watered and we must have sun to grow properly, to feed our physical forms, but I wonder. . . .
Why does the moonflower bloom in the moonlight?
What makes it like the moon more?
Is it a matter of taste, as it is with me?
Sun-loving flowers are planted all around it in other containers: marigolds, just now sprouting a green spot or two through the soil, two paired leaves; my butterfly garden, with many different kinds of attractive flowers in one pot, diverse in their beginning greenery, but all tiny; my sweet peas, that might just be the beginning of a plant there; nasturtiums, four or five hardy sprouts, they'll grow up to be strong and beautiful; phlox, pansies and lavender, still waiting on those ones to show their faces. Some of my adopted plants, they flourish in store-bought soil: my needlepoint ivy, with some leaves browning, crossly waiting to be repotted; the thyme, the parsley, they like their new pots and are adjusting quite nicely; my sister's polka-dot plant recovered from a fight with a squirrel and is growing back up again; the wandering jew isn't wandering so much anymore, I think it needs some fertilization, and just more attention; an empty pot reminds me that my sister's African violet fought a battle with winter and lost.
I care for them and provide what I can, trying to be a surrogate mother for the earth their seeds were plucked from. And they all love the sun, even my moonflower, they all need it. . . . But then they tell me the moonflower will open its blossoms only at night.
I look at its new, wetly unfolded leaves, and admire its thick stalk and the speed of its growth, and even as I marvel over its newness, I anticipate its mature blossoms, and await the day we can bloom under the moon together.
I eat salad almost every day. I eat vegetables and tubers and fruits, plants that came out of the ground. I wonder if eating those plants but raising and loving mine is a form of hypocrisy, but then I realize that many meat-eaters manage to keep dogs as pets without feeling hypocritical. I should be able to do the same. So I'm watching my moonflower grow, just feeling awe like a mother does when she knows her own actions combined with those of nature have caused the life before her now.
I saw it as a seed. I put it in the ground and lovingly covered it and watered it. And now I sit back and it does the growing. I'll try not to let bugs eat it, or let squirrels knock its pot over, or let coldness or water overwhelm it. I'll be its mommy. And when it gets tall, I'll provide a scaffolding for it to climb on like I'm supposed to, and I'll watch for the blooms opening at night under the same sunlight as the rest . . . only reflected and refined off the face of the moon, just the way we like it.