When the receptionist at Prairiewoods reached for a plastic bag, I tried to wave her off. “No, I really don’t need a bag for just these two books,” I said. “I can just pack them in my suitcase.”
She peered across the counter at me. “I’m not getting it to protect the books,” she said. “I’m getting it to protect your plant.”
Oh. Right. Seeing as aloe is not native to Iowa, I suppose the aloe plant would be in need of some protection between the retreat house and my vehicle, especially since Iowa went Arctic in the past week, and the wind chills were in the –20 to –30 degree F range. That, dear readers, is not aloe-friendly.
I duly wrapped my plant in the bag and carried it to the car, which I had to let run for 30 minutes before I even felt safe to drive it. The noises when I started up the engine? They were akin to a garbage disposal. A garbage disposal with chicken bones. I’m probably lucky the car didn’t just put up a flag that said, “Not moving ‘til Spring.”
I set the plant-in-bag carefully on the front floor mat, hoping the heat coming from the low vents would keep it from giving up all its healing powers, and then drove away. At the first stoplight, I realized the plant had tipped over, so, without peeking in the bag, I set it aright.
I did it again after the next turn. And the next. And when I got to my destination, I opened the bag and realized that the aloe plant itself had fallen completely out along the way, and all I was doing was tipping the pot up each time.
Luckily, the spot I stopped was mere blocks from the retreat center, a darling little coffee shop called Roasters that served as our post-yogic breakfast location. In the parking lot, I tried to dump the missing dirt out of the bottom of the bag and back into the pot, then tried to replace the plant, which seemed to be ominously missing most of its roots.
“I have already killed it,” I said to my yoga instructor. “I’m not even going to get it home.”
“You don’t have far to go,” she said with a smile. “It’ll be fine. You’ll just replant it when you get there.”
And so I did. And so far, the plant still looks as green as it did when I bought it.
I’m guessing the thing is so scared I might leave it outside that it has decided it will stay alive, roots or no roots.