Tag: plants

Charlie’s Room: Fireworks

Marianne and Charlie were making a house call. One of the neighbors had some sick potted plants and they needed some expert help. Charlie was rather thrilled to be considered an expert.

“Should we bring something to check the pH of the soil?” Charlie asked.

Marianne laughed. “I’m sure they used potting soil. Besides, what would we bring? We’ve never tested the pH of our soil.”

“Good point. I’ll go comb my hair again.” And Charlie was off.

Marianne shrugged. “He’ll be fine once we get there. There’s nothing like plants to take away stress.”

“Even if the plants are sick?” Isaac asked.

“Hmmmm. I don’t know. We’ll have to see.”

After they left, the house was much quieter. It was also colder. It was especially cold outside, and it was taking a while for the house to warm up again. Charlie let all the warm air out taking so many trips back inside for things he forgot.

Isaac decided to wear his warmest fuzzy socks. He trudged down the hall, trying to decide whether he needed a sweater as well. He reached for the bedroom doorknob, but pulled his hand back quickly. Static electricity. He should have done less trudging across the hallway carpet.

Isaac reached for the doorknob again, and pulled his hand back again. More static electricity? But he hadn’t even moved. That wasn’t how it was supposed to work.

Had someone set up some sort of trick? Isaac examined the doorknob more closely. He didn’t see anything stuck to the doorknob, and there weren’t any suspicious wires, either.

However, there was a strange shimmery sort of spot just above the doorknob. Isaac leaned in and squinted. He could just barely make out a round lizard-y sort of shape. And it appeared to have wings.

A dragon? How did a small, mostly invisible dragon end up on his bedroom doorknob? He was fairly certain there wasn’t a dragon in the house before. From what he could tell, life was a little more shocking with a little dragon around.

It probably came in out of the cold. But why the doorknob? Did it need metal to perch on? Maybe it would set things like wood or cloth on fire.

Isaac hurried to the kitchen and returned with a nice two-handled pot, and lots of pot holders. He set the potholders on the carpet, several layers thick, and put the pot on top. Then he took a big step back.

“Look at this pot,” he said softly in his most encouraging voice. “It looks much more comfortable than that slippery doorknob. I bet you’re pretty uncomfortable perched up there. I’ll just go away for a little bit, and you can sit in that pot there, where you’ll be able to rest.”

From what Isaac had sort of seen, the dragon seemed to have a large head and small wings. He was pretty sure it was a baby. That probably meant that there was a mother dragon somewhere out there looking for it.

He didn’t want anyone burning the door down to get inside. Or the roof. He needed to attract the attention of the mother dragon somewhere safe so that she could take her baby back home to wherever invisible dragons lived when they weren’t perching on doorknobs.

What would amplified static electricity look like? The answer seemed clear. Fireworks.

There were a few small fireworks somewhere in the garage leftover from their New Year celebration. It had been cold and they all wanted to go inside early. Isaac found the right plastic tub and opened the metal tin inside.

He sorted through the fireworks left. There was one that made a crackling sound but didn’t shoot any sparks high in the air. That would probably be best.

Time to see if the baby dragon was in the soup pot. Isaac stopped by the kitchen for the pot lid. And a lighter. When he returned to the hallway where he’d left the pot, he was a little surprised to see that the top layer of potholders was smoking.

He’d returned just in time! He put the lid on the pot and ignored the muffled screeching. He put the firework and lighter in separate shirt pockets. He picked up the pot with some of the extra potholders and raced to the entryway.

Should he stop for his coat? The potholders were already getting warm. He stepped into some boots and somehow managed to maneuver himself and the pot through the front door.

The driveway was clear. Isaac set the pot down in the middle of the driveway. He set off the fireworks. Then he took the lid off the pot and hurried back the the front door. The screeching was louder.

It wasn’t long before there was a rush of warm wind and a thump. The screeching stopped. The pot tumbled over on its side. There was a crackling, electric sort of sound and another rush of warm wind.

And then it was very, very cold again. Isaac shivered as he hurried over to pick up the pot and bring it inside. He was relieved that his bedroom doorknob didn’t shock him when he went to get his fuzzy socks and a giant sweater.

He was warm enough to leave the sweater on the couch by the time Marianne and Charlie returned. They chattered about the house call as they prepared dinner together. Charlie was pretty sure that once the neighbor stopped over-watering the plants, they’d recover.

Marianne opened the drawer of potholders. “What happened to the potholders? They look singed!”

“Invisible dragon,” Isaac said. “It was just a baby.”

Marianne looked at the potholder on top. “It must have been a very round invisible dragon.”

“It was in a pot,” Isaac explained.

“Of course,” Marianne said. “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Charlie’s Room: The Sunflower

Isaac liked sunflowers. They were normally the most cheerful flowers in the garden. Sometimes in the summer he went out at twilight and chatted with them as they were settling in for the night. Trying to talk to them any earlier was overwhelming. They would all talk at once really, really loudly.

One evening, Isaac wandered around the garden listening to the murmurs of the sleepy plants. Marianne and Charlie were inside making charts and detailed plans for the garden as fall approached. Isaac smiled and passed the ears of corn still young enough to fall asleep much earlier than the rest of the garden around them.

Once he was past the corn, he could see the cluster of sunflowers at the end of the garden. They waved happily as a breeze rustled the leaves. As soon as they saw him coming, they shouted out greetings and news that they couldn’t wait to share.

“Hello friend, isn’t it a beautiful evening?”

“Wasn’t the sun warm today?”

“I think I will be tall enough to touch the sky tomorrow. Wait and see!”

“Welcome to our garden! Welcome!”

As he came closer, Isaac realized that there was something different this time. One of the sunflowers was drooping, face looking down and leaves limp. Was it feeling sick?

He hurried over and crouched in front of the sunflower. “What’s wrong?”

The other sunflowers answered instead.

“She’s sad.”

“She looks sad.”

“I don’t think she’s sick. The water was sweet today.”

“The water is always sweet. The sun is bright. Life is good.”

Isaac waited. A breeze blew through the yard again, and the sunflower shuddered. “There’s only one sun,” the sunflower whispered at last.


“I thought that if I kept growing, that eventually I’d reach high enough and shine bright enough to become the sun. But there’s only one sun and many sunflowers. I don’t think we grow to become the sun after all.”

The other sunflowers stilled, despite the breeze.

“We don’t become the sun?”

“Maybe there’s only one because we take turns?”

“I think there’s only one because the tallest sunflower is the sun.”

“Do we become stars instead? I don’t know if I’d like that.”

How unexpected. Isaac wasn’t sure how to respond. “From what I’ve seen, the sun and sunflowers aren’t the same. Sunflowers start small and grow, and then eventually they grow old and return to the earth. Through it all, the sun shines down unchanging.”

The drooping sunflower bent further under the weight of his words.

Isaac leaned forward and lifted the flower’s head. “There are many things I don’t know and cannot see. I know there is a special connection between sunflowers and the sun. I have no idea what happens to sunflowers after they return to the earth. Perhaps all the sun energy that they store is returned to the sun and becomes part of it.”

The flower perked up a little. “We all become the sun? Together?”

Isaac shrugged and pulled his hand back once the sunflower was supporting its own weight. “I don’t know. I’m not an expert.”

The sunflowers chattered excitedly.

“We’ll all be the sun together.”

“I already feel a little taller.”

“Do I look like I’m shining?”

The little flower was nearly standing straight and tall again. Isaac smiled and stood up. “Who wants a drink of water?”


“I do!”

“Me! Me!”

Isaac chuckled and left to retrieve the watering can. Crisis solved.