OF HOPE AND CONNECTION IN A SHIPPING STORE

photo: dreamtime

Today began like any other. I had errands to do and stopped by a local pack and ship store to drop off an Amazon return. I simply had to drop off the box, a task that normally takes two minutes. Instead, I found myself in line at an appropriate social distance from an elderly woman for a time a little longer than those two minutes I expected. She looked uncomfortable and started making subtle noises to confirm my suspicion. I walked a little closer toward her and asked if she was okay. She waved her hand, a gesture indicating that she likely wanted me to stay away because of covid, and said she was okay. She told me she had some difficulty standing, so I pointed to a few counters against which she could stand and assured her I would hold her place next in line. I watched her shrink into the counter, as though it was holding her up right before she was called as next in line by the clerk.

I overheard her tell the clerk that she wasn’t well and asked softly for some help. Evidently she was mailing a medical CD to a surgeon in Tampa via overnight mail. She looked like she was shrinking into the counter again when I heard her say that she had cancer, and the cancer was pressing against her nerves. She had tears in her eyes when she said to the clerk it was difficult to have cancer during the pandemic, as her family could not come to see her right now accordingly. I looked at another woman standing in line next to me, and she looked so sad while the story unfolded. She motioned to me that she wondered if the woman was able to drive. I said “Excuse me” to the sick woman and asked if she needed me to call her an UBER to get home or if she needed me to get her some water next door at Walgreens. She said she could easily drive after she sat down, and it was just standing that was difficult before she thanked me. At that moment, the woman at the very end of the line, which was growing by the minute, offered to pay for the sick woman’s postage. The sick woman graciously declined, thanked her and said “God is in this room right now; you have all been so kind.” I looked at each of the people in line who likely were in a rush but found deep within themselves a sense of compassion and empathy that I had not seen in the world in a while. Most folks go about their day, doing the best they can during the pandemic, trying to manage. Yet this woman was facing the greatest fight of her life most likely and facing it alone.

Now I am not sure what you believe, whether you believe in a higher power or not, but the woman next to me offered to pray for the sick woman and so did the people next to her and so on. Some may debate whether or not God was in that room at that moment, but there WAS something very powerful and humbling unfolding before my very eyes this afternoon. There was a sense of community and connectedness that I experienced all within ten minutes or so unfolding before my very eyes. Most of us struggle to find our keys from time to time or to find time in which to accomplish the tasks we set out to do on any given day, and this woman’s plight pales many of our inconveniences or troubles by comparison.

“Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.” – Nelson Mandela

Yes, there WAS something in that room, regardless of your religious beliefs, and that was HOPE and compassion.

Life is good; find the hope in your lives today. Carpe diem, friends…..

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” – Desmond Tutu

ORCHIDS, A NEW HOBBY DURING THE PANDEMIC

I have completed my furniture refinishing projects around the house, have cleaned out some cabinets and closets (but not THE remaining closet), cooked lots of food, made ice cream three times in the last week, gone for multiple walks, laughed so much that my belly hurt, played lots of board games and lastly decided I need a new hobby. I was a Master Gardener, having completed the Master Gardener Program in the Northeastern United States when I lived there, but never really got into gardening here in Florida. It seems so odd to me that the shrubbery surrounding my home are actually HOUSEPLANTS in New England. I also have been petrified of snakes here, living near a pond. However, I really miss the day to day joy of watching something grow before my eyes, noticing subtle changes unfolding from day to day. Sure, I have pots of plants outside with flowers and vegetables growing, and I also have an Aerogarden in my home, but I need something new to look forward to in the plant department while I am cooped up at home.

The French have a saying, “vouloir c’est pouvoir”. Where there is a will, there is a way, loosely translated. This is a saying imbedded within my soul. While many stores and garden centers are closed here near me while I am continuing to self-isolate, I found a local garden center that does curbside delivery. Just like the restaurants. I can order on-line, pay on-line, and pick up my plant on a table set up in front of the garden center, having no contact with anyone if I plan my departure from the car perfectly. As long as we have HOUSEPLANTS growing in the yard, I might as well add another HOUSEPLANT to the trees.

I have long admired orchids growing in trees in tropical areas while on vacation, so I wondered if my gardening zone (9b) could tolerate orchids attached to trees. I noticed that someone dear to my heart has an orchid growing in her front yard and didn’t realize it until recently. She is really my inspiration for my new hobby. I began to think…….. I have a beautiful Southern Magnolia tree in the back yard, near the pool, and decided a splash of some bright pink might be a bit of whimsical fun poking out from the leaves of the tree. I did some research and found out that dendrobium orchids and phalaenopsis orchids do well attached to trees, without pots, in my area. I selected a variety of dendrobium orchid called “Oshin Pink”, which is a pink and while orchid.

“You are never too old to set a goal or dream a dream.”

-C.S. Lewis

First I leaned the orchid against the tree to get an idea of the size and scale of both.

Then, I took the orchid out of the four inch pot, leaving some dirt mixed in with the roots. Some of the sources I consulted said to use plastic plant ties to attach the plant to the tree, and others said to use biodegradable cotton string or twine, but I simply used what I had in the garage (thin nylon rope). I wrapped the rope around the plant, starting first at the roots, then attached part of the stem to the tree as well. It took all of five minutes to do this. Some sources said you can add in some coconut fiber or bark to the roots to hold in the moisture, yet other sources said that might encourage rot and disease, so I opted not to use any. I read that it is important to spray the orchid with water daily for a week, so we’ll see how it works out. This side of the tree is a eastern/southeastern exposure, which can be pretty hot in the summer. I started out with one orchid first to see if it is in the proper placement, but the garden center told me being in the shade of the Southern Magnolia tree would provide the relief from the hot sun that the orchid needs, regardless of which side of the tree I plant the orchid.

I was so excited when I finished my new project for my new hobby. Adding a bit of excitement to any day is always a good thing in my opinion. I love having something for which to look forward. As Mark Twain said, “Why not go out on a limb? That’s where all the fruit is.” In my case, that’s where all the flowers will be. Always feels good to me to try something new, and I try to see something I love, touch something I love, smell something I love, hear something I love, do something I love, or eat something I love each day. In this tree, I can see something I love, hear something I love, and I’ve already done something I love within five minutes. It doesn’t get any better than that!

“Where flowers bloom so does hope.”

-Lady Bird Johnson

Life is good; start a new hobby or find something that adds excitement, joy, and change into your daily routine to give yourself something beautiful to look forward to while you self-isolate.

Carpe diem, friends……………

COPING WITH CORNONA……HOPE SHINES BRIGHT

“Some hope for the future
Some wait for the call
To say that the days ahead
Will be the best of all…..

……Hope shines brightest in the dark
When nothing’s ever seen
Lighting undiscovered places
No-ones ever been…..

…..Hope for the Future”

-Paul McCartney, “Hope For The Future”