Thirty-four years ago my husband and I were young, in love, and dreaming of our future home filled with a passel of energetic children, fresh-baked cookies, and opportunites as abundant as grandma’s zucchini patch. One of our treasured wedding gifts was this personalized cookie jar which held its place on our kitchen counter from home to home through military and civilian transfers. It served its purpose well with a continous flow of home baked fare throughout the years. Somehow, I don’t even remember the transition, our well-loved cookie jar made its way to the attic. With an empty nest and easily expandable waistlines, keeping cookies accessible on the counter top didn’t seem to be wisest of options.
This past winter I decided to tackle a purging of our long neglected attic, an amassment of Wise family history and sentimentality that seemed to have its deepest hold primarily on my sense of “someday someone may want this.” But my children are now creating their own neglected attics and it was time to start letting some things go. Uncovered in the corner of the attic was the loved cookie jar and I just couldn’t let it go. This wedding gift had been a part of so many great memories. Besides, who else would want a cookie jar that says Steve & Barbara Wise?!
But we still didn’t need cookies sitting on the counter so the horticulturist in me took over and saw that what I had before me was a cleverly disguised terrarium just waiting to be planted.
Using a thin layer of small stone to layer the bottom, topped with another thin layer of activated charcoal, I added a layer of container mix potting soil before planting an assortment of moisture loving small ferns and tropical plants.
I finished with a topdressing of moss and lichen collected from my sister-in-loves farmland.
This cookie-jar, a part of our family story, was a silent witness to welcoming my husband home from military tours, to welcoming new sons, to birthday parties, and holidays, and watching us all mature and change. It was a part of us growing. And in its redemption from being cast away in the attic it becomes a part of the growing, taking its place on my home office desk: I, in my new phase of life enjoying the revised named plant-jar in its new phase of life.
Thirty four years later we are no longer young and being in love has levels of truth far deeper than I imagined, but the dreams we shared unfolded, transfomed, and grew. Now when I sit at my desk I have a reminder that growing takes different forms and that redeeming something from the past is one of life’s sweetest actions.