The Sublime Glitter of an Orchid

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A Plant’s Lesson on Self-Confidence

This is my orchid. I got her at a tiny supermarket around the corner, where I get all my plants before they die. For a long time, she was flowerless; in an act of what at the time almost seemed like a defiant protest of “enough is enough,” she had thrown off her pearly blossoms in the late summer of last year. I was quite furious, to be honest, and she must have sensed that, because — as if to prove her point — she then also made sure to draw all life-sustaining energy from the long slender stem that used to flash the sublimity of her flowers. In a matter of days, a sort of lifeless wooden brown infused the tip of it, only to move on downwards until it hit the very root. Then, it was dead.

But! I would not have any of it. Too many plants had withered in my care despite my honest attempt to make them feel at home. So, against her will, I persisted to give her a little water bath every Sunday, as my father had — after a frantic phone call for botanic help — advised me to do. Yet fall came, and she refused to make a move. I blamed it on the season, and then on my father, and then on the plant’s unnecessary stubbornness.

The month of December rolled around. Suddenly, I believed to recognize a tiny tip of fresh bright green. Was it possible? It was Christmas soon! Had I just defied the evils of winter? Indeed, within a few weeks, a new stem shot up like a strange little magic wand, and once it was done growing, it produced tiny knobs, and then those grew into cherry-sized capsules of delicateness. I was perplexed. And proud. Although technically, it was the orchid who had done all the work.

We are waiting for the last green bubble to burst open and turn into this almost indescribably beautiful painting of a thing. When shone upon by the gold of morning sun, and when you then pay close attention and look really well, you can see the fine glitter layer covering the tender leaves like the frosting of another world.

Now I understand that she knew better. She knew when it was her time to retreat and rest, and when it was her time to rise and shine. She is not impressed by the seasons and by what other people think she is supposed to do. She just does what feels right, even if that means that I cannot enjoy the entirety of her miracle for a while. And she does not have to apologize, because she’s just doing what an orchid’s got to do.

Next time she needs rest I will know better.

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