I have this orchid plant that I’ve given up for dead too many times to count.
It was given to me too long ago to remember who the giver was. Back then, it had a long elegant stem with two large leaves at the bottom and a cluster of three open blossoms on top. It reminded me of a giraffe, my favorite animal.
I don’t have a green thumb. If fact, you would not be insulting me if you called my thumb grayish black. I expected my new friend to last about as long as the rest of the plants formerly in my care and now in in great garden in the sky.
True to my prediction, the orchid died. Its blossoms shriveled and its leaves got yellow and then brown. I was ready to add it to my weekly garbage pickup at the curb on pick up day, but for some reason I kept forgetting to do it.
For another reason I will never fully understand, I kept giving this dead plant a weekly watering. It was a sort of, “as long as you’re here, might as well...”
It surprised me. New leaves replaced the old ones, and new blossoms appeared, like hands clawing up from a grave.
Another person gave me a second orchid. It, too, joined the first in the cycles of death and re-birth.
The last year has been hard, and despite all the TLC and the happy talk I gave, both orchid plants had finally given up. I was sad, but nothing lives forever.
And then, this happened:
I think of it like the muse, whose death is an illusion.