THERE was this malunggay wildling on the heap of dried leaves beside my apartment gate last year. It looked so cute but forlorn, I couldn’t think of moving out without taking it with me. For who will take care of it when it grows?
I transplanted it to a flowerpot and when I transferred residence, it was among my other potted scraggly plants. As it was already more than two feet tall, I transferred it to the ground just outside the gate of my new house. For a month, it was okay. Not growing more leaves, but not dying. And then it started to grow less and less leaves before the remaining leaves started to turn yellow. I knew it was dying, but I wasn’t about to give up. Taking a pair of shears, I cut off the stalk around three-fourth of a foot from the topmost to the main body leaving just a stalk. It was such a sad sight, there was that feeling of wanting to see the yellowing leaves even if I knew that didn’t stand much chance. That feeling of: At least there’s something there to see, rather than the stalk that was all that was left of it.
After two weeks, tiny sprouts emerged at the top of the talk. Green, healthy. Now, a month later, it is healthier than I have ever seen it. The malunggay has recovered and is thriving.
I could’ve tried to resuscitate the dying leaves by keeping them on and just letting the malunggay be. But the malunggay plant as a whole will be spending much of its effort keeping the dying portion alive. Because I cut off the diseased portion, the roots and the trunk had their remaining energy to grow new leaves and thrive.
It’s difficult to take that action. There will be the fear that it might not grow back. Then the accompanying sadness for the dying top, some sentimental hogwash other people may not fully understand. But that top has been with me since my old apartment days, you know.
Anyway, I did what had to be done and now have a healthy malunggay plant.
Indeed, even in life, we need to make drastic decisions. Instead of making do with the situation that can no longer give any more than what it already gave, we can opt to let go of any attachment and do what must be done. Much like staying home to ease the burden of Covid-19 on frontliners and the whole public health system, to buy time and save lives until a cure is found.
My malunggay plant is a testimony to this. Now I’m looking forward to having a malunggay tree and fresh malunggay leaves with my mongo soup soon.