Nearly nine years ago, I decided to take an avocado pit and rest it atop a glass of water, held up by three toothpicks. A little tree grew out of it.
I named it Avi.
I remember watching Avi’s roots growing steadily, first down-down-down to the bottom of the glass, and then spiraling around until they filled it. The little tree was probably ~8 cm in height by the time its roots had started curling around the bottom.
Somewhat like my father before me, I tend to enjoy simple pleasures, and Avi became one of mine. Growing a tree from an avocado pit is something that a kindergartner would likely enjoy, something I could imagine my daughter taking pleasure in. Still, having Avi growing on my window brought me happiness.
Eventually, I decided that the time had come to plant Avi into a pot with soil. I’d inherited an earthenware pot from a friend who no longer lived in Israel and transferred Avi to it. At first, I thought Avi simply needed to acclimate to the potted soil, but within several weeks it was clear that Avi wasn’t going to make it. I despaired as my once hearty sapling declined from robust to sickly, and then to wilted.
My wife, who has a very green thumb, opined that it was likely because the pot, pleasing though it was to the eye, didn’t have any holes at the bottom. Drainage holes, I was informed, allow water to seep out of the soil, making adequate air available for the roots. While various kinds of plants have differing drainage needs, few can tolerate sitting in stagnant water. Avi had never stood a chance 😭
My outward reaction was stoic, but Avi’s death hit me hard. For years following the incident, I grimly rejected the suggestion of planting a 2nd avocado pit.
* * *
The other day, my 5½-year-old came home from preschool with a pack of new goodies: toy binoculars with a compass on top, a magnifying glass, a small flashlight, a plastic pair of tweezers, and a plastic vial. Imaginative child that she is, she quickly became an intrepid explorer, examining our bed sheets with her flashlight and magnifying glass, binoculars hanging from her neck.
My wife is a big fan of avocados (even more so than I am), and I happened to have made a salad earlier this week. The avocado pit was still lying on the counter, and somehow I knew that I was ready. Watching a little tree grow out of a pit would be magical for my little girl.
Boopsie, do you know what we can do? I have a great idea!
We can grow a tree out of this little Avocado pit! All we have to do is put it in a glass of water with some toothpicks.
(My wife looked at me, shocked) Wow, have enough years gone by, then?
Yes, she’ll love this. You know, Boops, I used to have another little tree, and I named it Avi the Avocado. Do you want to name our new tree?
Yes! Let’s call it Havie, with a silent ‘e’ at the end!
And so – Havie the Avocado has tiny little roots growing out into a glass of water, resting near our kitchen window. It’ll be some time yet before we have to think about transferring Havie to a pot with soil… so I’m putting that out of my mind for now.