September 2008

underside of a red hibiscus against a privacy fence

delicate front of a red hibisucus flower

Today’s Picture to Ponder Photos

Red Hibiscus flowers on bush in my back yard. The upper photo is of the underside of the flower, backed by my privacy fence.

Today’s Self-Reflecting Queries
Today I invite you to look into your life:

1. Are there people or situations in your life looming large, right in front of you, whom you are walking around or ignoring? These might not even be intentional actions.

If so, I invite you to stop, look at and spend some time with what you are now seeing. Is any thing new opening up for you?

2. Are there beautiful objects, people and/or situations in your life that you look at all the time from only one perspective? If so, I invite you to take some time and examine it/them from several directions and then to, again, pay attention to what might be opening up for you.

My “story” of the day, leading to these questions -The red hibiscus bush, the source of these flowers, is quite large, almost five feet in height and probably, at least, four feet across. Right now a couple of the branches are crawling across the ground. The bush sits outside my patio window and, when I open my eyes to it, it is the first thing I see every morning as I walk out onto my patio to sit and write my “morning pages.”

The point to today’s story is that the hibiscus bush is also right in front of the maranta – prayer plant – I’ve been photographing daily. See Unconditional Love – The Maranta Story on my blog. At times, I’ve even stepped over the branches to get closer to the prayer plant. And the hibiscus is only a foot or two away from the passionflower vine that I’ve also been photographing daily.

In the case of both the maranta and passionflower, I have taken on the theme of observing daily the opening up, growth and expansion of these two plants. I’ve moved from “peeling away the layers of an onion, analogous to peeling away the layers of ourselves” (note the several blog posts) to observing “adding on,” so-to-speak.

In my mind, the hibiscus bush had no relevance to what I had honed in on for daily picture-taking focus, so I simply ignored it. Then one recent day, the camera and I did stop and pay attention to the delicacy of the front view of one of the flowers in the late afternoon light and to the beauty, grace and stateliness of the underside of another.

We, thus come back to today’s queries. Where in your life may you be ignoring beauty that is right in front of you? And, where are you only paying attention to one view or perspective?

As always, have fun and play with these questions.


Unconditional Love of a Maranta – Prayer Plant

by Sheila Finkelstein on September 2, 2008

“Unconditional Love” – Can plants love us? We could get into a philosophical dialog here. We could say anything is a reflection of ourselves, so if we are putting love out to someone, or something, it reflects it back to us. This may not always work with people.

They do say that animals often love their owners unconditionally. And for this post, I am standing in – Plants CAN grace us with unconditional love.

View of inside maranta plant in 2005

Prayer Plant in 2005

It is my experience with my “maranta” plant that has generated this query/discussion. My prayer plant has been with my husband and me, now me alone, in some form, for close to 40 years, or more! It would seem, based on this one plant, that they can love us unconditionally, beyond all measures of neglect.

Three years ago in Picture to Ponder, I wrote about the “abuse” this plant had taken over the years and how it always bounced back, no matter how much I neglected it. See Maranta Photos for the other photos linked to in that article.

A few months ago, I was sure the plant had finally given up on me. I was on my way out for a 5-day trip when I remembered to water it before I left. When I went to it, I discovered that most of the leaves had dried up from lack of water AND the plant was infested with, seemingly, hundreds of minute insects.

No longer could I simply pull off brown leaves. There was no way I could debug it. I took it outside to dump. Before leaving it, I did detect a very tiny, stem with 2 leaves and a very faint root. I found a smaller, clean pot and fresh soil and planted this tiny seedling, before leaving for my trip, then forgot about it. I was so sure that it was “gone” I never even thought to photograph it.

Fast forward three months – Miraculously that plant is growing and bringing on new shoots. Unfortunately, so sure was I of its demise, I never thought to photograph it. Six weeks later it was blooming healthily, already having unfolded several new leaves.

maranta 6 weeks after having been transplanted

maranta inside - 8-27-08

In the meantime, the bug infested plant that I had discarded as completely lost, I had thrown in a corner close to the house against a fence. Then about two and half months after the upset of discovering what I had considered the “hopelessly infested” plant, I glanced over at where I had tossed it and saw that a portion of the plant had survived, although the plastic pot had broken down.

maranta outside - plastic pot deteriorated

After several weeks of seeing a couple of leaves, still somewhat alive in the deteriorating plastic pot, I decided to put it in the ground.

unfolding leaves in center of maranta planted outside

Maranta in Ground

Now it has become an almost daily practice for me to photograph both the indoor and the outdoor plants, as I spend a moment or two, with each, in gratitude.


© 2017 Sheila Finkelstein - All Rights Reserved - Photography and Writing are by Sheila Finkelstein unless otherwise noted. For information contact Sheila[at]