If you also keep track of me on Facebook, you may remember that back on Easter Sunday, I took note of the fact that my orchid had grown some buds. I say “my orchid.” In fact, the plant had come all the way from Michigan, brought by a friend of Georg’s and missed by its intended recipient, my father, by one stinkin’ day. He split before she could get here.
He never got to see his friend, Sandy, or the orchid she brought to cheer him. I know her presence alone would have cheered him. One of the worst calls I ever made in my life was calling Sandy at 2 in the morning on the day she was coming to Sheboygan to say, “Georg died a few hours ago. You don’t have to come if you don’t want to.” I had to leave this message on her phone machine. She was sleeping, preparing to come see us. But, I knew she already had a ticket for the ferry. She came anyway.
She left the orchid on my side porch and then went to Chicago to see her daughter. The gorgeous orchid greeted me when I came home from a long, sad day and a meeting at the funeral home. I never did see Sandy, and she never did see Georg. But, the orchid cheered me, and I cared for it in the ensuing days. It was such a sweet gift and I was sorry he never got to see it. The four fuschia blooms fell off the plant after a few weeks. Soon the plant went dormant, as orchids are known to do.
Then, on Easter Sunday, I noticed the arms of the plant had several buds on them. Since then, I have been watching and waiting patiently for the buds to start blooming. Tonight, eureka! I came home from a busy day of work, visiting a friend, exercise class, dinner with mom, and finally a haircut.
All this activity, and then, stillness. Quiet. Peace. A flower. Surprise! So rich in color, so perfect in form, so utterly “orchid.” It took my breath away when I saw it. It made me smile.
If only all things that die could return like this. Or, maybe they do. They do return, just not in the same form we might hope for or recall.