Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Stealing a Moment

Amidst the jumble of empty pots and long neglected gardening gadgets sat the withered stump of an orchid that I could not bear to throw out, and yet had not taken the time to nurture either. I went through my archives, back to January of 2004, expecting to find some reference or suggestion for why I received an orchid in the first place. I knew I didn't write a specific post on the topic, but I thought there would be subtle hints in what I wrote or shared. There are no detectable traces of the orchid story. It was a gift, a kind and lovely condolence gesture, sent by Ruth and Jim. The orchid bloomed by the kitchen sink of the Treehouse for many months. Then life got complicated, you know, and after a time the little plant was lost in the shuffle. It came here to GarageMahal, but was still relegated to a corner. I have a lot of corners, where there are things, projects, hopes, and ambitions, that I am waiting to address.

Recently, while caring for the tadpoles, I started sprinkling a little rain on the barely green remnants... a pitiful gesture, I know. It may not have been generous or thorough, but evidently it was effective. The little bit of effort, the token attention that I afforded the moribund orchid, gave it sufficient means to live and bloom. With hardly any soil and nothing for its roots to sit in but a tiny drained cup, the orchid produced 2 sturdy, beautiful blooms. It's hard to describe how magical and luminous they are, figuratively and actually. I see them and think of life and survival, of love and the swift passage of time. I think of loss, and the ways we cope, manage. They bring to mind my own frailties and resilience.

Now what? I thought about taking it to the nursery and asking for the latest and greatest in orchid soil technology. Should I bring it inside and shelter it from the elements and nefarious vermin? Should I continue my neglectful method... no, I don't think so. The thing is, life is even more complicated than it was 4 years ago, when I ran out of steam, and so realistically I am not sure this poor thing will ever receive the quality of care and attention it deserves.

How much care is enough? When do we know we are doing enough?

Sewing, blogging, emails and leisure reading are all on the back burner this week. My body and personal grooming have been on the back burner for about 5 months (or 5 years, depending on what is considered enough.) Home decor, organizing and playing Hostess with the Mostess has been all but abandoned for at least 2 years. We juggle. We prioritize. We drop things and get derailed and fail to do enough, then try again. I sigh deeply.

William and Alex started at a new high school on Monday. Eventually it will be a mostly homeschool experience, but this week is full of meetings and hoops to leap through. Many hoops. Many leaps. And a lot of driving. Max starts in about 10 days. More hoops.

We are still looking for a house, and the endless loop of the search is hurting and defeating and hard. I may not have blogged about certain topics a few years ago, but remaining silent does not make the truth go away or dissipate. My hope is that by sharing the uphill climb, we will finally, some day, look back from a better place and appreciate the effort we made to get there.

Max has been enjoying his birthday week and your birthday wishes have been happily received. Thank you for your kindness.

Another post. Another session of scratching the surface of deep thoughts and other musings. Speaking of musings... I wonder what would happen if I stole a few moments to look after myself... a little sprinkle, some light, a diversion. I think I know the answer... I think I might just bloom.


nikkipolani said...

...that last bit about your blooming.... was there ever any doubt? Hugs.

Tami @ Lemon Tree Tales said...

My vote is that you get yourself to one of the many nail salons in strip malls and get yourself a traditional manicure. Nothing fancy, just some time to be pampered for a few dollars. You'll feel better afterwards. It's amazing how a little pampering goes a long way when you're always on the go and taking care of other people's needs first. :-)

calamitykim said...

I have an orchid that my wheelchair bound neighbor gave to me before she moved away because after her husband died I mowed her yard for her and put out her garbage cans for months refusing to take any money- because i really need the exercise. well- I have never had an orchid before and this one was blooming when she gave it to me and then bloomed 3 more times and then it has a new bud now- I barely remember to water it once a week and it thrives. It is in a plastic pot and has no dirt only bark! They live on air and if you were to take it from the pot and wire it to a tree with some moss under it it would root and be happy and bloom away! They love the humidity so misting is better I think but I am not sure I just spray it with the hose!
I think that taking a bubble bath with candles and a wine cooler and a new book is a great way to pamper yourself with no great expense and the nail thing is great- I got my toes done once and totally felt like a princess!
I say prayers for you and your family of wonderful humans every night- it helps me go to sleep- the list is long but I say them with hope and love.
my summer has been busy! the grand babies just left after almost 2 weeks and my son Troy is still here!
I love you.

d.a. said...

You have such a wonderful way of writing. Yes, please send a few sprinkles your way. @Tami's suggestion of a manicure is a good one. If you wear sandals, however, I'd suggest a pedicure instead. I've found that the pretty polish lasts longer on the toes, and believe it would give you a smile every time you might sigh and look down at your feet. *hug*

Laura Jane said...

Time to sprinkle a little rain on yourself hon...then stand back and watch you bloom. You sound like you've at last given yourself permission.

I prescribe bubble bath by candlelight (unless you want to read), toenail polish AND a manicure. Followed by a MNO, and good sex. In any order will be fine.

I've spent the day with Lesley and she thanks you for your good wishes. She's looking forward to seeing you when she gets back.

Big hugs.

Chris said...

Natalie, you are such a gifted writer! I truly love visiting here and being challenged or inspired or by your always thought-provoking posts.

I am glad you are coming to realize that you need some "you" time. Just do it! You will be so happy you did. Always pouring out and never stopping for refills makes for a very empty vessel. Your family and all of your devoted readers need you!


Em said...

Gorgeous dendrobium - I'd say take just a little bit more care of it, but don't try to lavish it with love or attention. Oh, by the way... I sigh deeply too... every day...

Sabine said...

Hi Natalie, just dropping by to say I've awarded you on my blog. I always enjoy your humour and beautiful pictures.
My orchids refuse to bloom, maybe I give them too much attention...

Tracy said...

Exquisite orchid...I love orchids. Orchids are incredibly resilient--not too much, care, not not too little either. Dappled sunny spot, water once a week and their happy campers! :o) School starting already...a lot going on there. Don't get lost along the way now. Tami's got the right idea--don't forget to treat yourself now and then! Everyday is an adventure...Happy Days ((BIG HUGS))

Andylynne said...

Well food for thought indeed. I don't thinkit's that we don't WANT, to take time for ourselves. I think sometimes just easier to plug along and keep on going no matter what. The others are so right, to much out go usually makes us empty & nothing left to give. I would suggest that you have taken the first and longest step to reprieve. And Sprinkling a little rain isn't a pitiful gesture in my mind. It 's the thoughts of nurturing, spilling on what needs it most. Sounds as if you may have discovered your own need and are sending thoughts that direction. I love a massage whenever I can get one. Though I have found that extreme gratitude and laughter can accomplish almost the same feeling. God blessings , you delight your family. You delight the readers of the Chicken Blog. Delight in your very worth while self and continue to spread your particular brand of joy.

Tillybud said...

You have such a lovely soul it seems you are already blooming. That said - get sprinkling and spoil yourself!