In all beginnings dwells a magic force

A funny thing about orchids — they don’t die willingly. In a burst of energy one Sunday not too long ago, I pulled the feral grocery store orchids out from their neglected corner of the patio, and repotted them. Watered them and brought them indoors. It’s the first time I’ve paid any attention to my orchids since I threw them outdoors last spring after a winter of neglect on the windowsill.

Not only are they not dead, one of them is going to put out blooms. Three fat and defiant inflorescences.

It’s kind of like this blog. Neglected, ignored, but still… not dead.

And apparently (heart-swellingly), not forgotten either.

Just a few days afterward, I received an email from an orchid hero and blast from my botanical past, Aaron J. Hicks. He wrote to say hi and to tell me that a 4 year-old blog post of mine was “Boing-Boinged“. Today, another nice note came out of the blue from my favourite Herbal Wise Woman of the Northern Light Centre, to say hello and tell me that she’d had a laugh over some of my blog posts. A laugh! Awesome.

It’s been 5 years since I moved to Munich, and my horticultural/writing impulse has gone into a deep slumber. But these sweet nudges are encouraging me to come out of hibernation. To come out and play. I don’t have a garden. The vast majority of my flower pots are upside down under a bench, and the only greenery I lay claim to are a few stubborn and unremarkable orchids. Orchids that have life in them still, and a few flowers – like this blog.

As every flower fades and as all youth
Departs, so life at every stage,
So every virtue, so our grasp of truth,
Blooms in its day and may not last forever.
Since life may summon us at every age
Be ready, heart, for parting, new endeavor,
Be ready bravely and without remorse
To find new light that old ties cannot give.
In all beginnings dwells a magic force
For guarding us and helping us to live.

– from the poem, Stufen (translation)
Hermann Hesse

The only flowers that count today

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

– John McCrae, 1915

REMEMBRANCE DAY