Grandparent hand holding grandchild hand, walking through time.

The Human's Microwave Minute

The Human's Microwave Minute

I have a collection of bonsai trees. I've had them over ten years now. I'm particularly proud of two trees. They started as one. I found an ornamental Ficus Benjamina in a garden center. When it was young the grower had spiraled its trunk around a length of bamboo to force it to grow in that spiral shape. The trick is, you have to change out that bamboo in yearly intervals, and care for the trunk to keep it healthy in that unnatural growth pattern. That did not happen to this tree. It was left to forge its growth around and into that bamboo. By the width of the trunk, its age presented at ten years old or better. It was also close to dead. Its leaves were full of mites, what leaves were left. But its trunk was strong, and it's nebari (root system above the soil) told me it had a chance. There were signs of health and there were signs of promise. I'm all about underdogs and honoring the struggle to thrive.

It took a year to bring this tree back. I removed the bamboo, removed the infested leaves, watered and fed this tree back to health. The second year I decided to take the top of the tree and create a second tree from that separation. There's a way to do that, it's a normal practice in bonsai. Not to belabor the story with details I successfully separated the green top and heavily twisted trunk. The trunk regrew a whole new canopy system. The bottom grew into a brilliant canopy structure as well. It took 8 years to end up with two healthy bonsai trees from one abused near death, unwanted, and stuck in the discount corner of the garden center tree.

I have bonsai trees for a reason. They remind me every day, that there is no such thing as a microwave minute in life. Microwave minutes belong in the kitchen. Life isn't about the end, it's about the time spent inside the journey. Our companion parrots require us to always remember this truth.

I've had many a companion parrot roommate ask, "How long will it take before my bird can (insert requirement here)?"

My answer: "I can't say. We'll have to wait for your companion to let you know."

Relationships require time. Great relationships require unconditional time invested with no unreasonable expectations. I enjoy working with my trees because I enjoy the processes involved and I enjoy watching the changes that occur with bonsai trees over time. With bonsai trees, you will need to trim and wire in such a way that the tree ends up looking pretty rough. You could almost say the tree looks worse. But I can see the future in my mind's eye. I can see what growth will take place and the direction it will go with the cut and wiring in place. It's just going to take a couple years.

Snickers has been a handful since he fledged. He's a scarlet macaw. We knew in the beginning what was coming our way. We also knew, that with patient empathetic communication he'd get through the bossy, nippy, biting, pushy male scarlet into a great companion. We knew we would receive exactly what we gave. We've been investing for seven years in Snickers. He's growing up into an amazing boy. Loving, silly, humorous and so attached to dad. We've built routines for him to thrive inside. He has times for flight, rowdiness, wrestling, sharing, napping, playing tricks and defining his space. Yes, we allow him to be the boss inside routines setup for that attitude. He's a scarlet macaw, he must be allowed to define space and permissions, it's in his DNA to do it. Going into year eight we are literally reaping all the sowing the previous years. When we first brought him home, still young and not fledged, we carried no expectations on behavior growth. We didn't write down benchmarks for Snickers to meet. We just met him in the middle with understanding.

Like a bonsai tree, you are in the moment working for the future. You can't shortchange the process. This journey with a companion parrot, large or small, is best enjoyed in the now. If you pay attention to the now, you'll notice the changes more readily, and you'll notice something that is so much more precious than the finish line. You will see them trying. And at that moment of trying to be good or trying to talk or trying to share or trying to achieve with you, the relationship blossoms in strength. You'll feel it. It can be overwhelming. Great relationships should be overwhelming in the heart. That's what makes them great.

Leave the microwave minute in the kitchen. Bring the now into your life. If you do that, the future takes care of itself in time.

Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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