Settling In

It takes me a long time to get settled into a new place. At the end of May, I moved off-campus (to an apartment across the street, but off-campus nonetheless). I have been incrementally unloading piles from my car, lugging them up three flights of narrow stairs, shuffling them from room to room, and coaxing them toward their dwelling places. On the first day, I stocked the bookshelves. After a week, I managed to confine my clothes to closets and dressers. By the end of week two, I had sheets on the bed, a full refrigerator, and a bedroom fan. In a decorating frenzy this weekend, I tried to fend off the white walls with an assortment of posters, pictures, and tapestries. Progress continues, however slowly.

Still, a home feels empty without living things. I have kept plants – with varying degrees of success – since I was very young. My south-facing window played host to fledglings before they outgrew the sill: a hibiscus that is now my height; an array of herbs and succulents; and a $3 cactus that, with its spiny spawn, has since outgrown many pots. I enjoy their company. No surprise then, that I found myself in Rick’s Garden Center in search of new roommates. After thorough inspection and much deliberation, I came away with two hanging plants. One is a philodendron (family Araceae) that trails cheerily down from my kitchen ceiling. The other, perched in my bedroom, is a rabbit’s-foot fern (Davallia fejeensis). Under a mound of fronds, furry tubers grope down the edges of the pot, tarantula-like. I didn’t realize when I brought it home that I was joining a legion of highly specialized plant-lovers: Send in the Fronds – NYTimes.com. Despite its rather alarming appearance, I hope my rabbit’s foot will bring the apartment its namesake good luck – at least until I find a place to hang my horseshoe.