Thursday, June 9, 2011

When Least Expected

When snow was falling and ice was on the ground, I took it home, a green plant with beautiful flowers. It was a grocery store special. Given my history with living things (our three children and the cat excepted), my hopes were not high that it would live to see the spring. But it was cold and frozen and grey that night, and my heart cried out for something beautiful, something alive.

The price was right and I took it home, carefully sheltering it with a plastic bag as we rushed through the cold of that winter night twice, from the store to the car, then car to home. It was placed on the green marble lazy susan in the middle of the kitchen table. The blooms continued to grace the table for some time, then, one by one, they fell and were gone. I cut back the bloom spike once it had dried and shriveled into grey. The green leaves remained. Waiting. Breathing in the dark under the mulch, absorbing food and water, and preparing for what was to come.

I waited too, gathering courage from each day the leaves remained green.

Along the way I sought advice from a friend whose orchids I had photographed a few years ago. They decorated her piano and windowsill. I followed her instructions as best I could, trying desperately not to under or over water the plant.

The weeks ran into months.

Spring slowly crept in as the snow withdrew from the landscape. Snowdrops appeared followed by dandelions, then the grass shot up. I can't remember when the new spike appeared, I do remember how happily I greeted it, watching as it stretched toward the light, then started budding.

Last week the first bud opened.


A few days later there was another,


then a third. There are four more buds to go.


It's a phalaenopsis or moth orchid, and from this angle, the blossoms look like moths in flight.


They make my heart take flight.


They remind me that there is wisdom in the counsel of a good friend,


and that good things are often formed in the dark.


Good things that bring forth joy when least expected.