Friday, 16 November 2012


I was walking through a mall today on my way to somewhere else, and I tossed an old receipt in the garbage can. And did a doubletake and went back to look. There in the garbage can was a beautiful white orchid plant. Still in the pot. Still in the plastic wrapper from the store. I pulled it out and it was just beautiful. So I took it back to my office and put it on the windowsill. I have been gazing at it all day as I work. What on earth is its story? Was it a rejected gift from an unwelcome admirer? Did a jilted lover toss it in a fit of frustration? Did someone just suddenly feel overwhelmed with the responsibility of caring for such a lovely creature, throw it in the can, and run screaming from the mall? I am puzzled. It is a crime, such a waste of beauty, of life, to put a living thing in the garbage. It seems content and none the worse for wear as it stands in my window, soaking up the filtered light through the blinds.

I am notorious for killing houseplants. Outdoors I can grow any vegetable you can name, but indoor plants defeat me. Except for orchids. Yep. Those delicate, finicky, high-maintenance flowers seem to actually like me. A simple hardy no-fail African violet wilts and turns to fungus as soon as I walk into the room, but the ethereal orchid perks up and smiles at me and bursts into repeated bloom. Weird, huh? So maybe this amazing acquisition will thrive in my window. It has a better chance there than in the garbage, anyway. I felt heroic rescuing it. Every time I look at it, I will marvel at its survival, the serendipity of its being found, the beauty it brings to my humble cubicle. The audacity of someone to have thrown it away.

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