Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Dillettante at the Orchid Show

Tony and I had a day out together at the Botanical garden.

Tony's musings:

I took Denise to the Orchid Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden for her birthday, myself knowing little about orchids: Nero Wolfe raised them and I thought they were parasites. Otherwise they were gorgeous blobs of color in a lush setting. Mostly I thought about Theodore Roosevelt's expedition to a tributary of the Amazon River detailed in Candice Millard's "The River of Doubt." The explorers, descending an unknown river after being equipped for a very different expedition, thought they could live easily off the abundant tropical rain forest. But for all its burgeoning life, every niche in the rain forest is fully exploited and exploiting. Game and fruit and nuts were won by hard work and at the cost of becoming prey oneself by insects and larger threats.

Fortunately the Botanical Garden is a more restful landscape

 and a docent brought a ray of light to my darkened forest floor when she explained that some -- not all - orchids are not parasites they are epiphytes. They live on other plants but do not draw nutrients from them.

  She also pointed out that all orchids have six petals.  Three are

the exterior petals that orginally enclose the budding flower. Then

 there are the three interior petals. 
Amazingly, with no more to look for than that, orchid blossoms became so much easier to apprehend! Look for the three exterior petals, often less vibrant in color than the interior, then look for the three interior. What one quickly sees is that among the three interior petals, one is more colorful, more elaborate than the others -- sometimes voluptuously so. And one can see the dizzying variety of orchids from the baseball glove size down to smaller than a BB.

Denise whisked me out the show shortly after I was reminded not to touch the orchids (with a pen as a pointer, not my finger!) and I suggested that the docents would REALLY mobilize if they heard someone heard someone saying, "She loves me. She loves me not..."

Denise's Musings

I had my own revelations about the orchids today!  I was so pleased to find out they were NOT parasites as I had come to believe.  Their seeds rest in trees, it is true, but they feed upon the air around them, not the trees.  Isn't that a most poetical thought..  What an incredible feed upon the makes a good metaphor for a truly beautiful soul.    They are planted in the world, but they do not use others to make themselves greater .... they feed upon God's own air... His grace and goodness and make the world suddenly bright and beautiful when we spy them in the proverbial "trees" of dull worldliness.  They enable us, so to speak,  not to see the forest for the......orchids!   They fill the world with beauty!  I have met a few orchids in the world.  Have you? 

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