CassMcmainMy father was a man with the heart of a farmer and the soul of a philosopher… and the linear thoughts of an insurance adjuster. He was a good man and I didn’t know him well enough. My mother had the heart of a philosopher and the soul of a demon, and the unquenchable thirst of the mind reserved for the brilliant. She was also insane, and raised me that way: insane and unquenchable like she was. I knew her far too well.

Socially awkward and without grace, I grew up partially cocooned by the beautiful middle Rio Grande valley of New Mexico, surrounded by cottonwood trees and wildlife. The adobe home my father built was a stone’s throw from the river. We walked there sometimes, and he picked the wild asparagus that grew there. I hated the asparagus… but I loved the walks.

I’ve been married for over twenty years to my best friend. No kids. I never really wanted them. We do share our home with a couple of dogs that drive me nuts and several cats I adore. The cats keep my feet warm on cold winter nights and the dogs step clumsily on my toes when I get up in the mornings.

My passion, since I was very young, has always been houseplants. In fact, I would sell my husband to keep them in water and fertilizer. (Don’t worry about him finding out; he knows.) I talk to them and counsel them, and they counsel me. They are the weekly ritual that maintains my sanity. For me, these leafy wonders represent patience and constancy. I have around two hundred houseplants; I’ve had a few of them since I was nine years old. Some of the others were inherited from my grandmother or from my father. I do not consider them expendable decorations, but friends.

Recently, my writing muse has again been speaking to me: a voice I stopped paying much attention to a long time ago. I find I do have a desire to express myself in ways other than through my plants.  Or maybe others have just conspired for me. Either way, here we are. After suppressing my creative urges for years, I am rekindling them.

I am rebuilding myself.

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