A New Leaf

September 23rd, 2007



Two years ago, a friend gave me a couple of baby banana trees for my backyard. One succumbed to a winter freeze and the survivor seemed to be permanently stunted. Other people I knew had giant banana trees, monster banana trees, genetic freaks growing in their yards. I was frustrated–I wanted to be able to look out my kitchen window and see a forest of banana leaves and think I was living in Key West or Hawaii, not an ordinary street in an ordinary southern neighborhood. Because I always want to be somewhere else, but I’m too lazy to uproot myself and move to that magical place where everything will be better, which changes every time I open the NY Times travel section. Just like I think I want to travel until the enormity of it overwhelms me. Packing, passports, money, 3 ounce containers in zip lock bags, which shoes to take (I need them all!), fear of flying, fear of airport bathroom germs, the godawful adventure of it all. I’m embarrassed to admit that I love being in my house, on my porch, in my own bed, because it’s so provincial and boring to be that kind of person. This morning when I looked out my kitchen window and realized my banana tree is suddenly all grown up and lush, I didn’t think I was in Key West or want to be. I thought there was no better place to be that minute than to be standing in front of my kitchen sink washing dishes and drinking in green leaves against an aqua September sky on an ordinary street in an ordinary southern neighborhood. To be ordinary me.