Monday, March 18, 2013

Orchids.

Cut flowers are not my favorite.  Receiving roses on Valentine's Day is a nice sentiment, and has traditional appeal, but honestly they just wither up within a few days.  I also can't help but think about how flower shops overcharge all the poor men on February 14th, by jacking up their prices, and from $15-$30 to $40-$70 for a dozen thorny stems. 

I'm not an ungrateful gift recipient.  I appreciate all tokens of affection, and try to show my appreciation.  Yet, in the back of my mind, I am often thinking they are kind of a waste of money.  And, then I think about how sad they look when their heads droop and the edges start to brown, which happens within 3-4 days.  They are still red, but they've given up. They aren't so happy with their fate either, knowing the moment the gardener snipped them from their plant, they were goners.  It was only a matter of time.   I think, "I really shouldn't throw them out yet, I just got them." And what does that say, throwing out a gift, you know?  I'm always tormented by my roses, and their presence becomes depressing in a way.

For our 10th anniversary last year, Sam bought me an orchid plant.  And instead of being the thankful and the loving wife I should have been, I was grumpy.  I was grumpy because I had been gifted an orchid plant 5 years ago, and it had died, and died fast.  It might have began with two blossoms,  and those fell off fairly quickly.  With that first orchid plant, I followed the instructions exactly and it just died for no gosh darn reason.  And I felt guilty, because I thought I had killed it somehow. I ended up keeping a brown stick thing sitting in a pot for a few weeks, thinking maybe it wasn't really dead and that it would "come back." But it was dead.  I had to throw it out.  

And from that day on, orchids and me, we weren't friends.  I spoke negatively about orchids for all the years following.  I said things like, "Those gosh darn things...  They look so pretty in the store and then they die.  Gosh darn it."  (I probably said nothing of that sort.  I don't say, "Gosh darn" in real life, but I did say other choice words about those darned fancy flowers, and Sam should have been listening).

So, when Sam came home with a pink orchid plant with a few scattered blossoms on curving branches, I thought, "Does he even know me?!"  Does he know my history with this exotic plant!?"  He had to remember.  I asked him why he would buy me an orchid, and crestfallen, he said, "Because it was beautiful, like you."  And Stella had helped him pick it out.  I said, "These things just die.  I'm just going to kill it.  You know I just kill these things."  (I'm sure I sounded like a biznitch, because I was being one.  I must note, however, that this was our 10th anniversary, and he bought this last minute and had not made any special romantic plans for us that day.  He just went to work.  It felt like a big deal to me, and it didn't seem like a big deal to him at all... See Tin Snips and Love Coupons.).

Yes, I should have said, "Awww, and given him a hug," but instead  I grumpily read the directions again:  I chose a place, different from last time, on our kitchen windowsill, and I plopped it there.  I decided to put two, not the three instructed, ice cubes in it every week.  And I just kept doing that.  And It kept not dying.  I mean it didn't die.  Low and behold, almost 9 months later, it is glorious and more beautiful than it was when the poor thing was cursed upon arrival to our home, on June 21st, 2012. What does that mean? I don't like it when people push symbolic meaning onto all things, however this plant sure seems to beg for some deeper (or not so deep) analysis:



1.  I didn't kill it.  I am not an orchid killer.  One can be quick to judge his or her abilities.

2.  Its stems have been heavy with lovely, deep fuchsia blossoms through summer, fall, winter, and now spring.  It hasn't stopped, or given up, or wilted even a little.  So, why can't we all blossom this way?

3.  The first plant died, this plant is a miracle.  Maybe it demonstrates how life can surprise all of us.  Don't expect the worst.  Try...  Keep trying...  And maybe it will blossom without too much help.

4.  And finally, when I went to take pictures of the beautiful orchid plant it became eye-poppingly clear Sam has gifted me a plant that looks so much like the female sexual organ, it's almost a bit pornographic... I mean really...  Look at it!  My analysis of this is that Georgia O'Keeffe knew what she was about.  Our bodies are beautiful.  Women need to see them that way more often.

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