First of all, let me start out by saying I believe the whole green thumbs thing is bunk. I think you either love your plants or you don’t. I also think they know. I have never killed a plant from love, but I have killed it from indifference. Perhaps indifference ends up being more painful than hate. The lack of feeling the worst of all.
With orchids, my love was never enough. I have loved orchids for a while. They seem magical and mystical to me. Like opera, they have a reputation for being ‘hard’ And let me honest, I can’t resist the ‘hard’ in life. One of the things I have always loved about being an opera singer is that it is so challenging, complicated and so much work. The languages, the styles, the technical vocal and musical challenges enthrall me. So the orchids fussy and difficult reputation didn’t put me off, it was like a bee to honey rather. Despite my over research and my commitment to them, I killed the first five I had. Sigh.
As I write this today I have an orchid in my home that is not only over four years old in my possession, but that also has a 6-inch tall stem getting ready again for the January to March bloom ahead.
It blooms because in my home of the last 5 years, there is the perfect window for the orchid to spend its off-season in. It is in the exact right place. It loves this north facing window in the bathroom, with its’ frosted glass. It loves the humidity of the daily showers, and it loves that I only water it when I indulge in my weekly decompression bath. Like the song Simple Gifts “and when you come down in the place just right, twill be in the valley of love and delight.” The orchid is in the right place, and because of that it gives me love and delight. And who knows, in the secret world of plants, it might be experiencing that too.
Isn’t that true for me too? When I’m in the place just right, I can bloom. I can grow. I’m in the valley of love and delight.
I suspect it is a physical place and I know it is an emotional place. Each feeding the other and creating those intoxicating feelings of endless possibilities. I can peg three times off the top of me head when I felt that way. I know who was present at the time, where we were, what we were doing. Every day I try to consciously keep some of those elements present so that I can, like the orchid, can be in the right place and bloom.
‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.