Orchid Oracle

She was my orchid oracle.   I have been gardening for decades, my college roommate came to gardening somewhat later. She convinced me not to give up on orchids.  DSCN3989

I wrote about the failures with orchids in my blog, and she stepped up with advice. Maybe some of my readers have read her blog, “Let there be garden“.   My son echoed her advice, “keep trying”. I did continue trying.   The new confidence has produced a little success.  Confidence is what she gave me from the start of our friendship.  When the work load seemed too much at Vassar, when the essay seemed too complex to finish, when the memorization of too many paintings seemed impossible, she was the one to give me confidence to keep on.DSCN3988

She died as the new year dawned.  The orchids begin again.  She is in my heart as each blossom opens.  When my Father died two years ago, she simply sent a poem, and she stilled my grief.  I reread it now, much too soon to be grieving her departure; she was much too young to leave the world.

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.
We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

Or rather, he passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then ’tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses’ heads
Were toward eternity.

Emily Dickinson


About Jayne in Georgia

Wife, mother, and owner of pets much loved. Gardener of three decades, amateur photographer, ardent about art, antiques and books.
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8 Responses to Orchid Oracle

  1. Holleygarden says:

    A very moving post. I know you will think of her each time your orchids bloom. And in this way, she will live on, in loving thoughts and memories.


  2. I have always loved this poem. I also lost my Dad a few years ago and am grateful for the comfort or reminders of the best of him when I can find it, yes, including in the beauty of orchids or in the scent of the hyacinths that I have around in the house right now.


  3. elaine says:

    How sad to lose a good friend – the poem is very moving.


  4. Pondside says:

    It’s been some time since I read this poem and I can recall, too, the revelation it was to me. I’m sorry for your loss.


  5. Jayne, I’m so sorry about your friend,
    and your dad, as well. I’m glad that you
    didn’t give up on the orchids, as they will
    remind you of your friend whenever they
    bloom : ) One of my favorite ED poems.
    Sending you peace as we begin this new

    xo Suzanne

    PS: Thank you for your beautiful and
    encouraging words for my little cousin!


  6. To lose two very dear people from your life so close in time . . . how heartbreaking. Emily can console. Take care. Lovely tribute to your friend. Thank you for your kind words too.


  7. I am so sorry you have lost your “orchid oracle”- what a beautiful epitaph for a dear friend. The poem is lovely. I am familiar with the most famous of its phrases, but have never read it through completely before now.


  8. Oh, I hope you succeed with your orchids in her memory. My sympathy to you. Hold her memory dear.


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