The Re-Birth of the Orchid

My prized orchid plant bloomed for the first time in over a year today. It was a tribute to overcoming adversity—mostly man-made and some spawned by nature.

The story of the orchid, which is not award-winning but special to me, dates back to last spring. On a whim, I spent $195 for this plant, which featured an abundance of blooms and buds in an amazing yellow with a pink throat. I took it home and sat it on the front porch in anticipation of a dinner party the following week.

I was sitting in my office, working on my book Deadly Winds when I heard the teeth-jarring sound of a leaf blower. The condo association had hired two men to clean off the cobwebs and other junk that collects on the outside of the buildings. Why they chose to use a leaf-blower, which does not clean but merely disperses dirt to other locations, was beyond me. As it came closer, I tried to shut out the sound that can rattle every nerve in your body. I stand with people who want those contraptions banned.

When will he move on I wondered and glanced out the window seeking an answer. What I saw rocketed me out of my chair: delicate yellow petals scattered over my porch like leaves on a fall day in Indiana.

“What the hell?” I shouted as I rushed to the front door and flung it open. I gasped in horror. My beautiful new plant was nearly naked.

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the guilty party headed up the steps to the next level—his weapon of destruction whirring away, waiting to be revved up to full destructive power.

“Hey!” I screamed. “Hey!! I want to talk to you. Did you just blow the petals off my orchid?”

“Oh, yeah, sorry about that.” I read surprise on his face. Like he thought I wouldn’t figure out what had just happened.

“What were you thinking?” Yes, I was being insensitive. It was a crap job and he probably didn’t make minimum wage. But, in my mind, there was a reason for his lot in life and what happened to my flower. He didn’t care.

“I guess I didn’t realize that the blower (generating mega-force winds) would hurt your plant. Sorry.”

There was no way I was giving him a break. “You can’t just use that thing willy-nilly without regard to what is around you?”

He had the look my son often wore when as a teenager he was caught doing something wrong.

“I’m not going to report this to the office, but don’t ever come near my front door again with that thing,” I snarled. “I’ll clean off the cobwebs myself.”

“Okay. Have a blessed day,” he said as he moved on. Quickly.

A blessed day? Was he kidding? I picked up the dead blooms, trimmed off the wounded flowers and waited for the day when it would indeed be a blessed day for that orchid.

Five months later, Hurricane Ian roared through our community, wiping out more plant life than Mr. Leaf Blower could have dreamed about destroying. Thankfully, I had carried what was left of the orchid and other precious plants inside before the storm arrived.

The hurricane brought with it an end to the employment of the two men who had been hired to clean the buildings. There were more important concerns for the community. I wasn’t sorry to see them go.

The celebrated blooming today serves as a reminder that time and tender care can heal the damaged—and that life, miraculously, goes on.

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