Lao Tzu says, “Teach without talking.” I had a teacher like that once, who showed me the meaning of support. This teacher was different from others I have had, in that it was green and didn’t move much, let alone talk. In fact, it was a rubber plant who had had a bad childhood. Its previous owner had kept it in a dim corner for years, and it had to grow way out to get some sun. The trunk or main stem gradually became so bent that the slightest touch could send it toppling over, spilling dirt on the floor.
Eventually the strain of fighting gravity wore it down, as hard lives will do, and it became infected with no less than three fungi or molds. It had white spots, gray patches and black growths on every leaf. When I took some leaves to the nursery for diagnosis, the staff said, “don’t bring those things in here! They’ll infect our whole stock!” They sold me some antifungal spray, but advised me to throw out this plant to protect the others.