birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Failure to Thrive

I am sitting at my desk at work, which is kind of funny since I've written all of my other posts at home and this prompt pertains to workspace.

I am noticing the area to the right of my monitor. Immediately to the right is a potted orchid. It currently has five blooms, which are purple and white with maybe a hint of creamy yellow on the bottom petals. The blooms are split into 7 petals each. The center of each is the most purple, with the edges of the purple becoming more dotted and less solid, almost as if someone was using a marker to color the center and started losing ink. The very edges of the blooms have sort of an ombre purple effect fading into white. The bloom on the bottom branch is all by itself and is contracted and folded up into itself. It will probably be the next to drop.

There are no buds on its stems. This may be the last time it will ever bloom, if it goes the way of all of the other orchids I have tried to care for. It was a nice gift, and I had simultaneous feelings of a sinking stomach and happiness when it was given, because I know myself and that my thumb is more black than green.

The orchids leaves are broad and mostly flat and a pretty dark green. There are eight of them. The ones on the top are dusty and the one on the bottom left has some whitish splotches. Maybe hard water stains? I need to take better care of this orchid.

The leaves are thick and smooth to the touch. The blooms feel cool and aren't as thick as the leaves, but still feel substantial. It is potted in a white, shiny ceramic pot. It is not flat, but has textured areas almost like a giraffe's spots. Some are in more shadow than others.

The orchid's medium is dry as far as I can stick my finger in. I stopped to water it before I wrote this because I hated thinking of it drying out, even though it's only maybe a day past when I should've watered it. You're supposed to let the first inch of the medium dry out. The medium is sort of fascinating-looking. It's got mossy areas, which are a light greenish brown. I can also see the orchid's roots above and going into the medium. I don't smell anything when I put my nose up to the blooms, but the medium smells fresh and alive.

Looking at this orchid brings up feelings of slight guilt, because I know it needs me but I don't know how to care for it beyond what I'm already doing. Every time I water it, little gnats appear the next day. The internet says they are fungus gnats. It also has suggestions for how to deal with them, like repotting the orchid into a better-draining pot. There is a pot with a hole in it on the inside of the white giraffe-spotted pot.

I guess I could replant it, but I feel almost sure it would die immediately. Shouldn't it have come in the right kind of pot in the first place?!

Dreaming Their Way Into A Future

Bed Rest