The orchids are there waiting for me and I’ve done a little reading since last we met. I have learned the origin of this name orchid, for one. It comes from Greek mythology. Orchis was a naughty boy who, during the festival of Bacchus, had too much to drink and tried to rape a priestess. He was torn apart by wild animals as punishment. But when his father prayed for him to be restored to life, the gods changed him into a slender flower instead.
Early botanists must have thought they discovered Orchis’s flower when they stumbled on these delicate beauties–the term orchid means testicle, due to the resemblance of the double root tubers of the flower to the male genitalia that proved Orchis’s demise. I read that Greek women thought they could control the sex of their unborn children through Orchid roots. Prescription dictated that if the father ate large, new tubers, the child would be male; but if the mother ate small tubers, the offspring would be female.
When I enter the hot, moist air of the conservatory, I am pleased to see that I am the only one there. This makes the praying easier and I talk out loud as we saunter along through leaf and petal. I like to explore through touching and without other watchful eyes, I feel free to run my finger over the delicate structures of the plants.
I also try to peek at the roots (giggle) but most of these orchids have their tubers modestly covered.
I am lying on my back, taking a picture of palm fronds when I hear an uncomfortable cough. This is how I meet Mike Beck, Ph.D., the conservatory director. I ask him about orchids. Aren’t they hard to grow? I ask. He explains how, in the tropics, orchids are rather viney climbers that rise up out of the marshy lands. So you have to start them wet and let them dry, he says. He says a lot more than that but I can’t remember it all. He shows me an orchid he is growing that clings vertically to a wooden pallet, climbing ever higher. He shows me the vanilla plant, tells me that it is an orchid. I wish it would bloom again, he says. And then he tells me about the many orchids that are native to West Virginia. Really? That patient man, he takes me around the conservatory, imparting little bits of knowledge here and there, and it is a delight to see how he so obviously loves his work.
But he is getting ready to conduct a tour for a garden club so I am soon left alone again. But not alone. We sit by the goldfish pond; listen to the quiet trickle of water. And once again I am blown away by the beauty of creation—by the many and diverse worlds that live in this world and how they hold so many mysteries to explore.
He takes my hand. Come,he says. There is so much to see.
*Over at The High Calling today, we are continuing our book club discussion on Ann Kroeker‘s Not so Fast. It’s the perfect book to read after Easter–a book to help us maintain the slowing down and focus on God. Charity Singleton-Craig writes today. Will you join us?
How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:
the Playdates button: