This summer I picked up a huge plant with trumpet-shaped purple flowers from a table of free plants someone had put out. I kept it with my other ones, set it on the bedroom window sill where it got lots of sun. Over the course of the semester, I watched its big floppy leaves turn brown and crinkly around the edges. Then the flowers started to shrivel, leaving these sad-looking brown stalks left. I decided to get rid of it.
I felt bad throwing out a living thing. I would have left it for someone to talk, but it's December, and so last week I trudged out into the snow and set it out by the dumpster. Just perhaps, someone would see it and take it before it died, and then I wouldn't be killing it. I walked away, and almost made it to the door I turned around. It was crying. I brought it back inside.
I trimmed off all the ugly brown stems and the large, dying leaves. Underneath were tiny fuzzy new leaves unfurling. I fed it coffee grounds, set it away from the sunlight. In the past week, those new leaves have grown 3 inches, and a new flower, fuzzy stemmed, is just about to uncurl. It's my hope plant. Everyday I watch it grow.