Monday, March 27, 2006

House of Orchids

In the house of orchids, fragrant air hangs heavy; scents of vanilla, honey, and wisps of rosewater around every turn.

Three separate houses for the blooms, and three separate golden retrievers to guard them, though the dogs spend most hours lazing on their sides near the glazed pots, tongues happily panting out of their smiling mouths.

In a babbling coy pond in the first house, fiery fish swim unaware of the Spanish moss feathering downwards, nearly dipping the edge with their curled prongs.

Oncidiums are Rorschach inky in flats spread along the counters. Their markings bleed gold and purple onto pillowed white. Lemon threads edged along magenta blossoms. Green and maroon spiky black widows. Each variance of the orchid looks alien sitting next to the next; each one more exotic and more surprising than the last.

Some sprout fat green bulbs like onions at the base, their leaves thick and flowerless. Others hang in wooden boxes; their white and green roots snaking out low and long through the draining gaps, and brush lightly along the backs of buyers as they navigate through the man-made jungle of the greenhouse.

Tiny buttercup wings in white and orange smell like honeysuckle. Near them are Miltoniopis hybrids, monstrous and vivid.

For the price of a muddled mojito, I select a modest plant; with lavender tinged petals and a sturdy stalk. It's placed into a brown box, nestled in the back of a car.

I take it home to New York, away from the comfort and safety of timed sprinklers and monitored temperature, into my small and shared apartment. It's a little momento of the weekend and the outside world, of seasons and change to come.

It will be a little sanctuary, sectioned off on a table in the living room.
If only I can remember to water it.

14 comments:

Serena said...

It was your description of the fragrant smells that got me.

marrowfromharrow said...

It was...how can I put it? Beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I love orchids.

Flora Pang said...

wow, you live in New York, that's one place I'd love to live forever~

GeminiWisdom said...

Ditto w/ Beautiful Man. He has such a way with words, doesn't he?

Laura said...

Lovely description.

I often kill plants by not watering them. It's so sad, because they'll begin their lives brightening up the apartment but since they don't make much noise, I forget that they are still there.

ThursdayNext said...

Oh the last line is my favorite...

I am staring at the tulips in my living room and am making a mad dash for the watering can!

shellz said...

I killed my lovely orchid by OVERWATERING it. Sigh. Such a fine line...

Motherkitty said...

Hi, K, thanks for your nice comment on my blog. Appreciate your stopping in and hope you come back. I have read this and other past posts of yours and find your writing style to be beautiful and sensitive. I hope you continue to write as you are very talented.

I also lived and worked in NYC during my early 20s, but after about five years found it to be overwhelming and much too much for me to handle. Thus, I moved back to Chicago which to me seemed more "manageable."

Don't overwater your plant but be sure to "mist" it frequently. Orchids certainly are beautiful, aren't they? A family group of us visited Longmont Gardens in Philly one year and they have a greenhouse dedicated just to orchids. It was stunning. Good luck with your plant.

AmourArmor said...

You're an excellent writer.

Jae

D.T. said...

That is such a pretty painted picture of that neighborhood. I can totally picture it on a canvas...why dont you paint it?

MKD said...

You make it difficult to be sarcastic.

Jeff Simmermon said...

I second that emotion... you are a really gifted writer. Did you study it, or just flex a natural gift through lots of practice?

nylon said...

You write like Carole Maso. She teaches at Brown. You may want to look her up.