I was on my daily walk when I spotted them.

They were showstoppers. I immediately crossed the street to get a better look.

What stopped me in my tracks?

House plants. 

They sat on a cheap white table between the sidewalk and a Subaru, green leaves gleaming in the sun. One had beautiful long vines that made me think it was a pothos plant. 

Here in Portland, it’s very common to set items you no longer want on the sidewalk. One man’s trash is another man’s set of lid-less Ball jars.

So it was very possible these babies were up for grabs.

What would you do?

As I inched closer to the plants, my mind immediately started asking, what if they aren’t free? Why would someone give away such healthy plants? What if their owner is in the middle of a move and will return for them in just a minute?

I debated…

But I didn’t take them. I just couldn’t. 

Instead, I just thought about them. 

They stayed with me on the rest of my walk and well into my afternoon. 

All of my thinking was centered on my loss as if I had some right to these plants or lost them in a bitter custody battle. I wondered how much their replacements would be in the local plant shop. 

Of all the questions I asked, never once did I think, do I need these?

The answer is of course no. 

Like any good millennial, I have several plants at home, and while I would be happy to have a few more, I really don’t need them. 

But seeing something I would like for “free” triggered that desire in me that always pushes for more

When we get caught up in desire, we bypass the question of need. We go straight to thinking about how much we love the shoes without considering the five pairs in the closet that haven’t seen the pavement in a year. 

I soon realized that these plants were just that–an empty desire. I hadn’t lost anything at all. 

By the following day, the plants were gone. I’ll never know if they were free or just getting some sun.

But either way, I’m happy they’re with someone else.

To being better without living in a greenhouse,