There is a Wandering Jew in my laundry room between the coffee machine and a lamp. It came from cuttings I took from the Sugar Shack in early autumn.
Each morning, I turn on the lamp and talk to the plant. "Good morning, my friend. Where are you wandering today?"
At first, there was only one pale purple and green tendril trailing out of the pot from the longest cutting. The others were short, with upright stems that looked as if they were settling in to the new space, sending down tiny rootlets to gain purchase in the strange, store-bought soil.
Each morning, I note how those short sprouts have grown tall in less than three months. They are spindly, almost tubular. Velvety hairs all along the stems shine ethereally through the lamp light.
The determined, anemic-looking stems will not develop their natural large-leaved, dark purple hardiness until they are reunited with the warm ground of summer, and liberated from the cramped winter quarters of a painted pot.
There were Wandering Jews in my mother's yard. That's where my attraction for them first bloomed. I knew, with a child's secret knowledge, that a wandering plant that wouldn't stay in its place, that snaked its way all over the garden, unburdened by borders or walls, and yet was tolerated by a nip-it-in-the-bud sort of woman who pulled up the innocuous, pretty, unauthorized Four O'Clocks planted almost daily by her youngest daughter who carried them around in her anarchist's small pockets, — a plant like this must be a magical plant, indeed.
I think of my inflexible, ultimately broken late mother every morning and watch my Wandering Jew as it sways first to the light, and then bends, curls and grows a little closer to the door and freedom, every day.