Friday, August 13, 2010

Orphan Annie

I’d only intended to find a shortcut through town, avoid the traffic, maybe save some time. As often happens, however, my good intentions came to naught - I ended up stuck anyway, waiting to make a left hand turn into heavy traffic. Coming out of a back road , the intersection had no traffic light, so I was stuck for a bit. So much for saving time.

If I hadn’t been delayed, I probably never would have looked down at the roadway beside my car. As it was, I did, and so I noticed it lying there all dusty and ragged. Something about it intrigued me, so - no other cars being behind me - I backed up a little, opened the door and grabbed it. “How nice.” I thought. “One of those realistic-looking silk plants. Must have fallen out of someone’s car or been dropped by one of those companies that furnish businesses with a lot of fake plants for atmosphere.” It wasn’t very large and was missing a pot, but I figured I could make use of it somehow, so tossed it onto the floor in the back seat.

Eventually, I found a break in the traffic, made the turn and went on my way. I had other stops to make, so it was some time before I returned home. By then the car was sweltering inside as it was summer and a beautiful, sunny day. Iced tea sounded like a great idea.

It wasn’t until the next day that I remembered the silk plant. Bringing it into the kitchen and rinsing it off in the sink I discovered something strange. It was not silk. It had no pot and no roots - looking as though someone had just whacked it off at pot level - but it was a living thing. I caught myself wondering “why?” and “how?” I had no idea what kind of plant it was nor if it could survive such treatment, but it was not totally gone, so I decided not to toss it. I re-cut the bottom with a sharp clean knife and set the it in a glass of water. Many weeks passed and the darn thing just sort of hung on. It didn’t root, but neither did it die. I felt it deserved a chance, so I played the waiting game with it.

One day, I did notice some pale, fragile strands in the glass. Gradually, the number and size of them increased and the day came when I carefully planted my “Orphan Annie” in a pot with real soil. It continued to grow and thrive in the corner window of the kitchen where I could watch it and marvel at its nearly miraculous revival.

The ragged, dirty, sad silk that I chanced to find that summer day was a 10 inch weakling. Today, it stands a proud 84 or so inches tall and shows no signs of slowing down. I’ve since learned it is a Dracaena - well known for being tolerant of poor growing conditions - so I take no credit for its growth. All that I did was give it a chance and wait to see. I did so hope ...

Annie has shown me that sometimes that’s enough.

For if what faded away came with splendor,
what is permanent must have much more splendor.
Since we have such a hope, we are very bold,...
2 Corinthians 3.11-12

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