Image for “The orchid lady”, Finding Your Bliss

There are bag ladies, and then there are orchid ladies. If a bag lady can also be deemed one who tries to haul all of her grocery bags from her car, up the stairs, and into the house in one run, yup, then that’s me.

But this bag lady would prefer to be known as an orchid lady.

Over the past six years or so, I’ve been gifted orchids on occasion. I watch their magnificent beauty and blooms posing for my family and guests for weeks and months on end, and I help to nurture their delicate selves. I admit that I’m something of a stubborn orchid lady — I choose not to drop the suggested three ice cubes a week in the flowerpot to water the flowers. Instead, I water them weekly or a little less often, figuring out as I go just how much water to pour from the watering can.

I’m an orchid lady… an orchid whisperer. I help these wonderful blooms continue to thrive until… one by one their flowers droop and wither, then fall off. And the plant stands there naked, its branches sticking out at all angles, some slowly drying out, turning from green to tan to dry twigs.

And then it’s a waiting game. Months and months go by and my orchids sit by the living room window, getting warmed by the sun, as I continue to water them in hope and anticipation of future growth.

When I start to see buds forming again, I am elated and announce, “I’m going to be a mother again!” And I wait and watch. But sometimes I have to announce, “Oh, the orchid had a miscarriage,” as the buds don’t take but fall off instead, remaining tiny and closed forever.

And then I’m on a bloom watch again. Slowly but surely some buds do take form and start to enlarge and slowly open, peeking out at the world around them and beaming up at the sunshine coming through the window.

Ah, I am in bliss. I have brought beauty back to life after months and months have gone by without any blooms. I often take a photo of my orchids and their growth progress to share on my social media accounts — the flowers brighten my day… why not brighten someone else’s as well?

I am currently the mother of seven orchids — given to me as hostess gifts or “in appreciation” gifts, Mother’s Day gifts, or “just because” gifts. Three of those seven orchids were given to me as a gift during that week in July 2022 when I was a mourner and sat shiva for my mother. By then, people had known about and recognized my love for these delicate flowers and my dedication to growing them, and in gifting me an orchid, they were showering me with beauty and love, concern and care, also allowing me to have something to help nurture during a difficult time period.

Although my late mother grew African violets, not orchids, of every color and size, I’d like to think that I inherited her appreciation for natural beauty as well as her green thumb.

Currently, only one of the seven orchids is showing off, its large white blooms the first thing I see in my flower arrangement that I call “Orchid City.” Waiting on the sidelines to bloom once more are two other large white ones, a stunning sunny-yellow one, a mini white one, a pretty-in-pink one, and an exotic and rather delicate mini orchid arrangement, a rich purple in color.

The beauty of an orchid is plain to see from the outside. But the mystery of the orchid lies within… Just like a woman hides secrets, so too does an orchid. Her column, graceful throat, and her beautiful lips hold secrets only she knows…

I am happy to learn those secrets as I nurture these magnificent flowers, in hopes that they will continue to grow and bring serenity and beauty to my life.

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