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April 08, 2004
An accidental observation involving some dead acacia trees and a living leaf...

The first appearance of the acacia trees felt a bit like a miracle. I had just put the seeds that looked like little brown stones into the soil, forgot about them, then a few months later there was a bit of a mini forest of several little trees, one of them almost two feet tall.
When I returned from my trip to Europe last September (was it last September?) the trees had been attacked by some little web spinning parasites. (I was told they could have been spider mites) These had built some sort of cocoons in the crowns of the young trees. The dry leaves made me believe that not only were the acacia trees dead, but that they were also just the first ones to be taken over by the very crafty parasites who would then continue and take over the entire minigarden. I cut down all the trees just very closely to the soil, made sure to immediately throw out the infested plants… The pot which used to look like a little forest was turned into the saddest confirmation that I had not the slightest clue what I was doing with my plants.
The little stumps, each one thinner than a pencil, looked rather pathetic. I waited for them to wither away, so I could just take them out and give the tiny container with enriched soil a new start. The little trunks did not rot however. They remained very firm in the ground. It was rather strange and not as I imagined it.
I tried to pull the largest one out, just to discover that it was firmly holding on to the soil. The tiniest one could be torn out, but it revealed itself as a rather strong root. These were trees I was looking at, I had given them an opportunity to live… then killed them, or at least I could have sworn that I had killed them…
Then, a few months ago, one of the “dead” stumps produced a little branch. The branch was not as strong as the original plant, the leaves were not as large, there were fewer of them and they were a bit confused at times how to close for the night and how to open for the day. (The acacia tree leaves do that, except that we do not get to see it, because who would be insane enough to look at leaves of city trees at night…)
The new plant was a great surprise to me. Clearly, the tree I thought dead, was now back, it was performing photosynthesis again, it was another “phoenix.”
I wanted to be a bit better with dealing with it this time. I inspected the leaves to make sure that no parasites would attack the reborn plant. And I also removed one of the leaves, just to allow the little tree to somehow expand into more than one direction. A bit of a bonsai training, or really the most primitive form of it… I am just learning myself here.
I took off one of the larger top leaves. I did not throw it away, I just placed it onto the soil, next to its donor plant. I somehow knew that Acacias do not propagate from leaves… I just left it there… and I expected it to dry in maybe two days or so… it should have. It was cut off from nutrients… it was just a simple leaf.
The leaf did not die. Not only did the leaf not die, it “behaved”… (am I glad that I am not a scientist, just a naive observer, so I can write that a leaf “behaved” in a certain way…) the leaf “behaved” as if it were still attached to the plant. It remained very green, it closed for the night and it opened nicely for the day. It was rather interesting. And it continued to perform this little dance for several weeks. Months. No decay. None.
It was just a leaf, a living, opening and closing leaf.
Last week, a new, completely fresh acacia tree grew out of the soil, right next to the living leaf. The tree looked like a little sprout at first, then the two protective leaves opened and between them appeared many little bright acacia leaves… a whole tree, ready for the new season. Wonderful.
This happened yesterday… the little sprout became a tiny tree yesterday… and this morning… well, at least I noticed it this morning… this morning the detached leaf died. The detached leaf is now what I expected it to be a few months ago. It is now a crumpled up dry object. It is not going to open or close… it will just become part of the soil…
I guess it is my point of view, and my experience of being a human being that allows me to group all these occurrences into one thought.
My observations were not part of an experiment, I am not a biologist… maybe the plants are not even acacias. it is just that this strange performance of the leaf, the ever returning life…
The realization this morning was a moment of first hand miracle… and unexplained thing happened there, right by my window, in a little plastic pot with some strange mystery plants.
The situation felt as if the leaf were summoning a new tree, for weeks and weeks, until the tree actually appeared… the baton had been passed on… life continued… that was it…
it was as if the plants were just the representations of a larger idea, as if Life were what I was breeding here, not plants. Life happens here, the plants just illustrate that it does, over time…
It felt as if I received a glimpse into something so much bigger than me, much bigger than anything I know…
hmm… very odd experience… very interesting and odd… at least for me it was… like a daytime ghost story… no, more than that…


A fire sign growing plants.

It is very inspiring...No, I'm serious.

Not to knock the idea of ghosts but maybe the leaf waas built to survive in order to rid its self of those little fertilized spores or seeds or whatever it is that they cast off?

Posted by: Emily on April 10, 2004 02:47 AM
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