Ferns and the magic table

fernIt’s entertaining to work in an office. People are amusing. My work is especially good because we have a magic table.

When we first moved into our building a few years ago, I had great plans for my office. I envisioned a large Boston fern in the corner.

Why a fern?

A fern said success to me. In my mind’s eye, I remembered all the up-and-coming yuppies in Minneapolis having lunch in fern bars.

Fern bars were popular in the 80s. Walk into this upscale restaurant and it would be all brass and wood, Tiffany lamps and ferns. If you could push back enough fronds, you might find a table where you could sit.

I never could push back enough fronds. I was always on the outside of fern bars looking in.

In the late 80s as a freshman in college, my outfit varied between a man’s brown tweed coat with leather elbows and a Russian army wool jacket, both bought “preworn” from the thrift warehouse Ragstock.

I lived in a shabby section of St. Paul. The closest I got to a fern bar was a dusty plastic plant in the corner of the coffee shop where I did my homework for classes at the U, the affectionate nickname for the University of Minnesota.

Is it time to let go of an idea, possession or aspect in your life?

Fast forward two decades. I was working as a web developer, about to move into my own office.

With high hopes, I bought a fern. Day one: majestic.

Day two: is this leaf looking brown?

Day three: a complete and utter shedding of fern fronds all over my floor.

Autumn for my fern plant arrived overnight as if my office had a severe frost.

In a panic, I looked online for an answer. Boston ferns are fussy and prone to shedding, I read.

Well, how successful does an office look with an anemic fern and a pile of dead leaves strewn about?

With a heavy heart, I realized that the fern would have to go. But where?

The magic table!

In our break room, you can put unwanted things on the table. And they disappear. Magic, right? I carried the rustling fern down to the table, leaving a trail of crumpled plant matter behind as I walked.

I left the fern with my well wishes and returned to my office for some much needed cleaning.

The next time I went to the break room, Ta-da! The fern was gone!

It’s a wonderful thing to work someplace with a magic table.

A word of warning based on experience: always check the expiration date on any snacks you might discover there before you eat them…


Lord, help us let go of the things we no longer need.
Bless our possessions to help others.

Tell me your thoughts!

What are you letting go of now?

10 thoughts on “Ferns and the magic table

  1. “I could never push back enough fronds.” Whew, what a gifted writer. You express such huge and profound sentiments with such unconventional treatment and clever conciseness.

    (In stark contrast, the marketing training in me came out and wanted to cheapen those words by saying “Hey! That’d make a great t-shirt or bumper sticker!” But no. NO. Put that thought on the magic table. There is more than enough commercialization out there. Allow art to be art. Let those words stand on their own in their quiet power, touching readers in their purest form.) Ahhh.

    Thanks for this post, the exercise in letting go, and the reminder that things (success? ferns? words?) can define themselves just as they are.

  2. Need to let go of a lot. Expectations, demands, some third word that I cannot find. I loved your post. There was a time and place when it was easy for me to grow Boston ferns in the moist climate of the Bay Area of California. I have lived places where I could not grow ferns. I thought it was me! Thank you for reminding me to let go.

  3. Here’s to letting go! I’ve been struggling to declutter for oh, say, about 7 years now? I have to try to ignore that voice “Butbutbut. . . that might be useful!” I have to let it be useful to someone else 🙂 One place I worked had a magic shelf and it was wonderful how it could make my extra stuff vanish.

    1. Lisa, I can relate! I have that “it might be useful” thought often! Scraps of yarn I could use in a pompom, pretty magazine I could do a collage with, old t-shirts that could be rags…do you see me making pompous, collages and rags? No. But you never know when I might get struck by an urgent, inescapable craving to do so. And then I will be ready! 😀

  4. I’m with Shelly! I love this line: “I never could push back enough fronds. I was always on the outside of fern bars looking in.” Forget the table. That line is absolute magic.

    I always like to be reminded to let go of things. Thanks for that.

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