Falling Orchid Petals

Talking lovingly to my orchid plant as it drops its flowers. I can relate.

Photo by Rita Ox on Unsplash

I have an orchid that someone dear to me gave me as a gift about 4 months ago. The very fact that it has maintained its flowers since then is a miracle in and of itself. I have not had the best history with keeping orchids alive.

This one has given me such pleasure with the beauty of its flowers. I talk to it every day (one of the benefits of living alone). And I tell it how beautiful it is and how very lucky and happy I feel to have it living with me.

As of late, the flowers are beginning to droop. Yesterday one dropped off. Today another.

Having a writer’s brain, I see the metaphor in everything. 

I am telling this lovely orchid that she is still beautiful, with her droopy flowers. I tell her that it’s ok to drop them, and that I will keep taking the best care of her that I can. I will follow the instructions on how to care for her in this new current condition. 

I tell her that I love her still. That she is no less beautiful to me, no less of a gift and a blessing. That I am still feeling graced to have her in my home. 

So I also learn to speak to myself. I have my own version of dropping flowers. My skin is thinner, bruises more easily, does not bounce back. It wrinkles. It sags. My own version of petals drooping and dropping.

My mind, though clear, is not as quick as it once was. It forgets things, especially names. But not faces or how that person was to be around, how I felt and feel around them. Not the essence.

My eyes don’t see as well, especially at night. I do my best to compensate and keep going, And I so very much appreciate all the beauty that I can still see all around me. The greenery outside, the birds taking a bath outside my sliding glass door. The trees all around. The smiles of friends and strangers. The ability to write on my laptop and to read what others have written, both electronically and in the form of a book. To read and hear their souls. To write and express mine. 

My ears don’t hear as well. I now wear a hearing aid in one ear. I am grateful to have it. And I pay extra attention to sounds. Birds in the morning. Music that I love. Voices of friends. Music. Fireplaces crackling. Wind blowing gently through the trees. (I think of this as God whispering.) Laughter and the sounds of amazement and awe of the families that visit at the zoo where I volunteer. The sounds of all the animals at that same zoo. Elephants trumpeting. Hyenas, chimps, baboons, lions, gibbons …all expressing their feelings about whatever may be going on at the moment. What a delightful symphony!

My joints don’t move quite the same way as they did before. I feel stiffness after sitting too long. I notice that I don’t bend down the same way or as easily as I did in my younger days. And I am grateful for the movement that I have. For being able to go to the gym and still participate there. For being able to walk, even if more slowly than before. For being able to reach out and touch someone, hug them. For being able to still be functional enough to live alone and do what is needed , and to be able to hire someone for what I cannot do on my own. 

I need more rest at times than I used to. I nap during the day, and those naps are delicious. And I go to bed early, sometimes even able to read for a while before I find that I have dozed off. 

I am grateful for so much. I, like the orchid, had my day when my flowers were glorious and fresh. Now, my orchid and I have a different kind of beauty. A beauty that holds the memory of what was. What may yet be. Of all that we contain. Some others can see. Some not. 

Our flowers and petals may be droopy and dropping. Our spirit and souls are not. We are still so very much alive. And still have so very much to give, to those that can look beyond the flowers. To see the plant beneath. To see the glory of all that it has and still contains. 

6 thoughts on “Falling Orchid Petals

  1. If I was your orchid my petals would be already gone. Long gone. Each and every. You, if you are like most people, would just throw me out. But I could be just resting! Orchids can’t talk. Orchids can’t tell you how they are feeling or what they need. How many landfills do you suppose contain orchids in full bloom? Here’s the link https://www.justaddiceorchids.com/just-add-ice-orchid-blog/bid/81354/don-t-throw-out-your-orchid-it-s-not-dead


    1. And how many nursing homes and assisted living facilities contain elders in full bloom? I’m hoping that I’m learning more and more each day to see what is and what is not visible. So, maybe don’t assume that is throw you out?


  2. Each time I read one of your posts, I feel validated a bit more. While I don’t converse with my plants, I do need an occasional nap, occasionally go to bed early and put both hearing aids in if I want to hear what one is trying to say to me.

    While I acknowledge this is part of the process of aging, you must know I am going to fight it when I can! 🙃

    Thanks for all your inspiration! Hugs. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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