Looking at liriope

I’m looking at the liriope [lih-RYE-oh-pee] we planted a couple of years ago, and I don’t know what will happen.

Also called monkey grass, these clumps of leafy plants make good border vegetation, and the plants are pretty hardy.

For two winters, I have cut back the leaves that died in the cold, and I did it with the loving care of a weed eater—just whacked all the clumps down to the nub. And then in spring, little green leaves just shoot up and grow.

The liriope was greening up nicely this spring, but then we had a couple of hard freezes,LiriopeBig when temps dove into the low 20s. There’s warmth and sunlight now, but those cold nights took a toll on the liriope. Big sections of rich and verdant growth are now quite pale, even white.

So now what, I wonder. Will the pale leaves linger? Die off, even? And will new, green ones grow in their place? Or maybe the entire plant will spiral down to die. Some plants are doing better than others, so maybe some will recover and others won’t.

You probably guessed where this is going. There are other worries on my mind.

In the same way I’m looking at my liriope, I’m wondering about my country, my state, my neighbors, and my family. Will the virus that put our economy in the deep freeze ruin our way of life forever? Or can we recover and resume where we left off? Or maybe new jobs and opportunities will replace the ones that didn’t survive the COVID crisis. And, worse, will the dreaded virus strike a loved one?

I flat-out don’t know.

To learn the liriope’s fate, I could ask a botanist or a horticulturist—or probably even the lady at the lawn and garden shop. They would know, as they’ve seen that situation before.

But diagnosing a nation’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis is not as simple. While there’s no shortage of experts in economics, virology, and public health, there are no sure-fire answers. Unlike a mid-April freeze that cripples plants, a pandemic like this one has never before been faced in the modern world. Those experts can build models and make predictions, but their projections are just educated guesses. And many educated experts have already guessed wrong.

It’s also easier to look at liriope because I don’t have to suffer a stream of uneducated guesses—other than my own—like we’re all enduring through this COVID lockdown. The fear and distrust and hatred that spawn all sorts of corona-crap don’t really play into plant life.

Of course, while doctors and economists can’t forecast with certainty what will happen in six months, they can deliver solid expectations of what can happen in six days to people who don’t heed warnings about catching or spreading the coronavirus. (Hint: They’ll catch it or spread it.) But it’s the sixth months and more that worry me.

Time, I guess, will tell … both for my clumps of monkey grass and for the global economy. There’s a lot more riding on the outcome of the latter, but pondering all the upshots and outcomes of the coronavirus disaster—week after week—can weigh a man down.

I don’t want to close my eyes to further threats, but I can’t think about the whole world just now.

Today I’m going to look a little longer at my liriope. Maybe I’ll see some signs of life.

LiriopeSmall

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