This orchid was given to me last mother’s day, gorgeous, in full bloom. Never having kept an orchid alive for longer than a couple of months, I set it in a prominent spot in my living room, and watched it slowly die. When all the petals had dropped and the leaves had withered to nearly nothing, I noticed a little piece of paper sticking out of the pot. Care instructions.
I’m not sure what came over me in that moment, but I realized that sometimes you have to take care of things (duh), but more specifically, in the way they want to be taken care of. Not in the way that is convenient for you; not in the way that looks prettiest; not in the way that you’ve always done things. Instead of giving up on the thing and tossing it out like so many Mother’s Day orchids past, I found a spot in the bathroom with indirect, diffused sunlight, followed the instructions to soak the thing instead of water it, and to my astonishment, within a couple of weeks new life began to emerge. That tiny green shoot gave me a really weird sense of accomplishment. So I kept at it. And it wasn’t hard! And today, on Valentines Day, I have a new bloom.
Progress is about movement–about things growing and changing. Things innately want to grow and change, and be their most actualized selves. But things also need to be tended to. Instructions need to be followed. You have to really listen. Orchids, more than anything, want to bloom–and totally will–if you let them.