After I bow out of shrine, I have a sake-cup of water that I’ve offered fourfold. Because one of those four offerings was to the dead, I don’t drink the water myself, so I’ve taken to pouring it out into our main household plant, a dogged ivy. Since I am notoriously bad at remembering to water plants regularly, this is frequently the ivy’s only source of moisture.
As you can see by the photo, my time away from shrine has had noticeable effects. Some leaves have yellowed; others droop listlessly.
There appears to be an unfortunate dragon infestation. The ivy is thirsty, and I find myself reminded of my own spiritual thirst in turn. Fallow times are natural, as are mundanely-busy times, but I still feel a little dehydrated when I can’t spend time in shrine or engaged in devotional activities. However understandable, however occasionally unavoidable, those times apart still leave me dry.
Rather than curse myself for being imperfect and curse my life for being unpredictably hectic, I will water the ivy, cup by offering cup, as I am able. It is a very stubborn, patient plant, my ivy, capable of withstanding periods of little moisture—and I am no different. We will drink up together, and we will weather future drought with rooted grace.