a flower in the trash**

A good friend and former coworker gave me an orchid plant a few years ago…four years ago in January, actually, when I returned to work after being out for a week when my mother died.

The plant was in a small dark reddish/maroon ceramic cup and had four broad, intensely green leaves and two vines or stems that were about six to eight inches long/tall and had anywhere from eight or ten flowers on each…I don’t remember exactly…

After a few months of “watering” it with crushed ice a couple of times a week, I found that I just couldn’t keep it watered enough and that the ice just melted and ran straight through the cup and the flowers wilted very soon and the broad dark leaves went soft and then stayed that way.

Not too long after that, I purchased a much larger pot and a bag of Miracle-Grow-infused orchid bark and repotted my little plant.  When I removed it from the smaller cup, I found that there were “tons” of root material curled into a huge twisted mass at the bottom of the cup, something that I sadly trimmed away and discarded in the trash…but it had to be done.

And now, four years later, I have seen a second plant grow up from the bark and sprout its own four leaves and two vines or stems with their many flowers, sometimes it’s hard to keep track of them all, 15, 18, 20….  My morning routine each day at work is to stop and greet the plant on the window sill near my desk.  I gently rub the dark green surface of the uppermost leaves, maybe rotate the planter to make sure the flowers aren’t touching the glass, and whisper “Hello,” something that seems silly as I type it here, but seems natural and only right when I do it every morning.  I think I probably perform this ritual to honor the plant’s life and the trust it must have in my routine to care for it…and to likewise honor the friend who gave it to me, his compassion and empathy, and to remember my mother, to acknowledge her continued presence and absence and all of the things I could and don’t say about that.

And it is now my weekly routine upon coming back to the office on Mondays to trim/pluck the flowers that have wilted over the weekend…and so we have this post. After I tossed the single flower into the trash a couple of weeks ago, went about my new morning at the desk, and then happened to look down into the trash. I was struck by the color and textures of the wilted body and leaves in its surroundings of the clean clearish-white trash bag…and was reminded immediately of some images that my blog friend, Lynn, has shared with us at Bluebrightly, particularly the ones of leaves and flowers pressed against the inside surface of a green-house’s windows or plastic tarpaulin partitions…the texture and form and light all combining to give us another micro-celebration of awe and wonder at the event and the artist’s eye and mind and heart to find it and capture it so.

**iPhound art

7 responses

  1. I read this with a smile on my face, perhaps even nodding my head… Lucky plant, to be the focus of your regular attention, and no, I don’t find it strange to talk to a plant. My mother was passionate about gardening, she spoke to the plants sometimes, they were “somebody” to her – “hello there, there you are after the winter, nice to see you again!”. Flowers in decay is a marvel. I think I know which ones of Lynn’s photos you refer to, yes it resonates the same way. Beautiful post about a plant with a meaning.

    April 11, 2021 at 11:41 pm

    • Thank you, Gunilla…and how nice to find you visiting. I agree with you, too, about the plants in decay. There is something special about their return, especially when we can witness it out of doors.

      April 17, 2021 at 1:40 pm

  2. A lovely, touching post, Scott!

    April 12, 2021 at 9:46 am

    • Thank you, Lemony. How nice to see you on the blogs again. Hope you’re doing well.

      April 17, 2021 at 1:40 pm

  3. Liana

    There are so many things I love about this post… thank you for a vastly dimensional view of this. Who among us cannot relate?!

    April 14, 2021 at 1:32 pm

    • Thank you, lady…and yes, we can so relate….

      April 17, 2021 at 1:42 pm

  4. Relating here, as well! I just came in from rescuing some plants I had nearly given up on out in the yard. I was pleasantly surprised that several of the plants were still hanging on in spite of being strangled by the aggressive grasses. Three tick bites had made me anxious about returning to the tick infested grass. Eric insisted on suiting me up properly and luckily it seems to have worked.
    And yes, you obviously have been inspired by Lynn’s artistic take on discarded or hidden flowers. I suspect she is in inspiration to many of us!

    April 22, 2021 at 4:24 pm

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