I vacillate between feeling I've got it figured out and realizing it's better that I'm mostly winging it. Nothing is permanent (except for maybe tattoos, or at least as permanent as it would ever matter for anything to be) (there has to be a better way to say what I just said about tattoos).
Like the blossoms on my orchid. At once they seem so sturdy and strong in structure, almost incomprehensible in beauty. They last and last. And then, abruptly, unexpectedly, they fall from the sprout. Once landed after the fall, the blossom, though disconnected and perhaps even planted on its face, retains the same luster for minutes, hours, maybe a day. Then it takes on an unavoidable state as it shrivels into a brown wrinkled mass that is almost entirely unrecognizable as a vibrant blossom of the past. The sprout dries up and turns brown shortly thereafter and gets a clean snip near the base, making space and preserving resources for the next sprout to shoot up, rich with potential and unknowns. Will it make it all the way? How tall will it be? Will it sprout a blossom? maybe even two or three (five would be out of this world)?
I can do responsible and caring things like be sure my orchid gets enough light, the perfect trickle of water, be sure it is re-potted and given nutrients otherwise foreign in it’s contained and small habitat when necessary. I can have friends look after the orchid while I am away. I can even sing to it on occasion or write it witty quips about the change of seasons or the seemingly unrelated patterns of the neighborhood.
I could daydream and draw it sketches of what our life might be like in the future together. Maybe we’ll move across the country and make new spaces our homes and routine. Find a new neighborhood in which to observe patterns and watch the change of seasons in anticipation and a splash of anxiety. The same plant could continue to produce blossoms of astonishing beauty, even if I actually neglect the plant a reasonable (or unreasonable) amount. I could do everything right, and the plant still may fall ill and die. Or die abruptly with no obvious cause. I could think about all the things I did wrong, did I miss whole weeks of watering? Did it need a larger pot? Was I really paying much attention to it after all?
Maybe I wasn't destined to be a plant care taker. The thumbs I've always pictured as green are closer to a shade of brown or gray upon more careful inspection. Maybe the thing I thought I was isn’t true, or it has changed. Maybe my thumbs used to be vivid green, but have mellowed into their eternal state and true color over time and as I use them for other things.
I could also do everything wrong and the damn thing may continue to send up its shoots of potential, blowing my mind with even just one blossom. How did it do that? When was the last time I even watered my orchid? Do orchids thrive when they are somewhat or mostly ignored? Do I even deserve such a persistent and beautiful plant in my life?
Maybe I’m ok with all of this and with not knowing the answers. I’m sure I could spend 30 minutes of solid internet research and double (if not triple) my knowledge on orchid care, but I would rather speculate on the possibilities through writing. It seems more true to the unwavering beauty of the plant. And besides, someone else's orchid isn't my orchid.
So maybe I will just enjoy the time I have with my reasonably healthy orchid.
And not put too much pressure on myself or expectation on the plant to continue to produce blossoms.
Today I will enjoy my orchid.
That seems about right.