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April 2019 Vol. 15 No. 1

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Teri White Carns

Ice Cube Orchids

thanks to Ken Pienkos

cicada songs start
my night was already full
with just one cricket

My friend had a picture on Facebook of him tossing a biscuit to his dog and an ice cube to his orchid. The dog catches the biscuit and runs off. The ice cube melts and waters the orchid. The orchid blooms. Next week, another ice cube.

Of course I had to look this up on the Internet. Orchids grow in the tropics, right? Watering them with ice cubes seems cruel if not downright harmful. The first post I found was from a portly fellow with a learned tone. He said he’d grown more than 1,000 orchids, and that watering them with ice cubes was not harmful, but silly. You should do it his way, he advised, which involved setting your orchid pot inside another water-filled pot once a week for a half hour (preferably not more, not less), and then finding a place where it could thoroughly drain before finally putting it back in the spot where it really lived the rest of the week. Seven or eight steps, and probably, all told, at least an hour, after you answer the phone, let the dog out, and forget it all while getting distracted by a YouTube about llamas and capybaras becoming friends.

The next thirty or forty posts were from people who threw ice cubes to their orchids once or twice a week, and lived (as did the orchids) happily ever after. Who are you going to believe? The self-satisfied expert? Or the sensus fidei, the voices of the people like you in love with the craziness of watering your orchid with an ice cube? Sophia of the Internet tempts you with these choices: the Oracle, the high priest . . . or the Greek chorus?

birch leaves whispering
near the shores of chilly streams
drowning out the oak