I am not really good at Wordless Wednesday, because I always seem to have so many words floating around my brain. So, the pictures are for Wordless Wednesday and the words are for … well, everything.
Orchids are my spirit animals. I know that technically they are not “animals”, but these precious little beings are as alive to me as my beloved kitties, magnificent buffalo, and capricious dragonflies. They saved my life, much the same way that the dragonflies did and made permanent, sacred inroads to my heart.
During the break-up of my marriage, I was lucky to live near the American Orchid Society Headquarters in South Florida. The gardens and conservatory there were magical and usually quite empty. I would make an early Sunday morning run, sip coffee in the parking lot and impatiently wait for them to open. Camera in hand, I would wander the gardens and commune in the conservatory for hours, sometimes without seeing another person.
From my first visit, I felt this strong attachment to the orchids. I had the urge to talk to them, out loud, and I could feel them listening and then responding energetically. It was several visits before I realized that how connected our hearts were becoming. Truly. I sat on the ground next to these tiny, cherished expressions of Gaia and poured out my grief, my sorrow. They were witness to my tears, mumbled curses, and absolute heartbreak.
Then, the tears would clear and I would raise my camera and start shooting. I whispered words of love to them, told them how uplifting, how healing they were. With each click of the shutter, I said thank you for their presence and their ability to touch my heart which was so shattered. I would pet their petals and just amaze at their exquisite elegance.
We vibed, the orchids and I. After months of visits, I left for Utah and the mountains to continue my healing. When I returned to South Florida a few years later, all I could think about was the orchids and going to see them. I had one last visit as the Orchid Society was closing due to lack of funding and all of the orchids were going to be re-homed to gardens all over the country. I am so glad that I got to visit with them before the headquarters closed, but since then, I have had this restless orchid urge deep in my soul.
Imagine my DELIGHT, MY BLISS, MY JOY, when I found out that Longwood Gardens near my home in Delaware not only had a conservatory but had a massive orchid exhibit occurring in February and March! And then I was sick. I laid in bed dreaming about going to visit the orchids. The last day was March 31 and I kept hoping I could sneak a visit.
Finally, two days before the orchid exhibit ended, I made it there! And my jaw dropped. The Conservatory at Longwood Gardens is massive with multiple attached buildings. It was ORCHIDS FOREVER. It was also people everywhere. While I did not get the meditation and quiet communion with my beloveds, I did get to see them, photograph them, and whisper my bliss to them.
The connection was strong as ever. I cried again, this time tears of joy, at seeing their gorgeous little faces and enchanting colors and shapes. I have never seen so many orchids in my life! This time, I could hear their chatter, and I kept laughing out loud. A few people gave me sideways glances and wide berth, but I was floating in orchid heaven.
While the ginormous orchid exhibit is gone now until next year, I checked and there are orchids there year round. Twenty minutes away so I can get my orchid fix frequently! See me Happy Orchid Bliss Dancing!
Throughout this post are some of the orchid photos from South Florida and from my visit to Longwood Gardens and Orchid Extravaganza. Next year, I think I need a weekly pass. Just to understand the enormity of Longwood’s Conservatory – it shelters 20 indoor gardens, more than 5500 types of plants (not counting special exhibits), and spans 4.5 acres.
Enjoy them … I hope they speak to you … who knew that orchids could be such a potent spirit animal?