New window, new planter, new soil. Same seeds. I left everything alive behind at the old place, except the gardenia and the one stinging nettle that clung to life against the first, second, and third frosts. They’re in quarantine in the back stairwell. It’s a desolate place. The light there doesn’t turn on. There’s a lift in the center of the spiral that the stairs form. It’s broken. Everything has been painted over and over again in white, so thick and sticky that the shapes of the wood underneath are hidden. Jenky, I say, when describing the steps. A word from the brother who belongs to someone else. The sick plants, coated with diotenatious earth like powdered sugar on a cookie or a cake, are only a few feet away from the new planters, separated by a door and two closed windows and I say that that is enough to be safe.

They’ll sit out there for two or three weeks. I need to make sure that anything possibly living in them is dead before they come inside. You try not to move plants from one location to another. You just don’t know what they have in them. You don’t know how they’ve grown and lived in their environments. What they’re carrying. The pothos and tradescantia, the gloxinia, the mother of thousands and the green plants I still don’t know the name of have all been left behind on windowsills and tables. I don’t know if they’re still alive. Clippings, carefully washed, are in jars, where fuzzy roots grow. They drink up the water. They mix the hydrogen and the air together to form sugars that help them grow more.

I set up the light over the first of the new planters. 5000k hitting them with a middle spectrum, averaged to help overall growth. One planter is filled with kitchen herbs, one edible flowers. The flax seeds, harvested from the dried blue and red flowers of the summer, have already started getting leggy. Their stems grow and grow, trying to get closer to the light. Flax is just a leggy plant, with delicate leaves making stems look more like soft pine twigs or rosemary. The seed shells hang off the plant, like a hat on a rack. It will fall off soon. Some of the chamomile has already begun to throw out their tiny, frilly leaves. A borage seedling has just split. I think the basil just started coming through, but I’m not positive what it is yet.

This is what starting over looks like.