Ages ago – over a year now – I had some friends over.
This was of course back when one could still do such things, before we all found ourselves isolated to our little pockets of spacetime.
Anyway. The evening was pleasant, a little boisterous even in the way that sometimes happens when someone brings along a box of red wine; but that is not why I mention this now.
I mention this now because one of those friends brought me a little hostess gift, in the form of a ferociously-pink orchid. I am not a Plant Person, you see; I have an absolute genius for doing something or other that just…murders the poor things. Watering too much or not enough or planting things in the wrong places or…well. You get the idea.
So I didn’t have high hopes for its longevity, but found it a little pot and put it on a windowsill and fed it an ice cube every so often and hoped for the best.
Its flowers dropped off, and I assumed that meant it was dead, and then (shameful admission time)…I did nothing to it, for quite some time. The leaves wrinkled up a bit, but that was all otherwise; just the bare stalk and the leaves and the windowsill.
I did not water it. I did not feed it. I did not trim it. I just left it on the windowsill, wondering how it hadn’t yet gone completely black and/or died on me.
I felt faintly ashamed of myself whenever I looked at it, thinking I should really throw it away.
And it got cold, and dark, and began to seem like a terrible idea to be outdoors.
And nothing continued to happen with it, and I kept on thinking I should throw it away and…not doing it, for some reason.
And then, this spring, as it started to warm up outside, I decided okay, really, enough was enough, I should toss this thing, and I walked over to it full of determination to resolve this particular awkwardness once and for all –
…and there was a new stem growing, unobtrusively, split from the original, stretching out toward the glass where it was a little hard to see.
If you looked very closely, there were buds on it.
I stood there a while and just stared at it. How? How on earth was it possible that after being completely neglected for an insanely long time by somebody who is really dreadful at taking care of plants in the first place that this orchid wasn’t just completely toast?
And then I thought: Well. If you are tenacious enough to try to blossom after all that, you deserve a little more attention, I think. Let’s see what we can do to fix you up.
And I used the little clips the plant had come with to “train” the new stem into a similar arch to the previous one, and I fed it some ice cubes once a week, and I waited.
Sure enough, the buds became blossoms, and they are as ferociously pink as before.
They are ferociously pink today.
There is probably a metaphor in this, somewhere.