Las Orquídeas de Nathaniel

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Protected by Loving Arms

This week will be a tough one for my virtual friends Nancy and Mike Giesecke and their baby son Nathaniel. Virtual, you ask? Yes, I’ve never met them, yet I care very much about them.

I care because my first boyfriend was called Michael Giesecke, though I called him Micky. We met in a sailing class out of Meersburg, Lake Constance, Germany. Ours was almost as virtual a relationship as my relationship with the Midwestern Gieseckes because, by the end of that memorable week on the water, I had to return to my convent boarding school. We managed to sustain our great passion through letters and Micky was very supportive with many notes through my serious bout of influenza in early fall. But, as bright summer colors fade to muted autumnal hues, so waned his long distance ardor. But a first kiss is a first kiss is a first kiss.
I care because their family also includes a Kangal dog.
I care because there’s no doubt in my mind that we would be friends, had fate thrown us into closer geographical proximity.

This Thursday, nine months old Nathaniel will face major surgery and the whole family needs support and love. Since the beautiful colors and intriguing shapes of Nature sustain one’s soul with their lush abandon in Costa Rica, while Kansas may not provide such a boost right now, I want to send my embrace for Nathaniel and his mom and dad in the form of these vivid images, which surround us here.

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As it happened, just when I needed some awe and sparkle for Nathaniel, Barry and I visited a spectacular orchid show, the XXXI EXPO ORQUÍDEAS hosted by the Asociación Alajuelense de Orquideología and sponsored by Banco Nacional de Costa Rica!

We haven’t been driving around much since arriving in April. First some medical issues diverted all our attention from tourist endeavors, then my green card problem made a return visit to the States imperative, followed by Barry’s stint in Florida to help celebrate his mother’s ninetieth birthday – all the while our first Costa Rican rain season kicked in with a vengeance, limiting ones desire for muddy excursions. So this trip into Alajuela was really the first time we enjoyed a little outing for the sheer fun of it. Thanks to Mildred, our somewhat opinionated GPS, we easily found the exhibit, parked and entered the huge exhibition space inside the gimnasio or field-house of the Instituto del Alajuela.

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To my huge disappointment, the display areas were securely roped off from the adoring public. I was not allowed to climb into these mesmerizing blooms of fantastic shape and color. Don’t they understand that I need to get close, really close, to take my pictures? Great efforts had been made to supplement the existing lighting in the hall, but I experienced some trouble with snapping pictures nevertheless. Most often a flash was too bright, while the beautifully arranged booths, recreating natural settings for many plants, proved a little too dim. Therefore the colors in the pictures on this page, don’t quite match the impressions received through our eyes. This might be a little annoying to knowledgeable orchid lovers, but I couldn’t help it. Yet more disconcerting is the fact that I neglected to record even a single species name. ¡Disculpe! I was just having fun!

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We’ll be thinking of you, Kiddo, and just as the delicate filigree of the white bloom is cradled and protected by its surrounding basket, so are you loved and protected by your parents, family, friends and Gabriel the Kangal!
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