Calypso Orchid


Several years ago, I kayaked to a small island and discovered hundreds of calypso orchids (Calypso bulbosa) growing in the forest duff just above the beach. Enchanted with them, but not having a sketchbook with me that day, I carefully unearthed one, packed it gently away, and brought it home to my studio, where I spent many happy hours sketching it and then creating this colored pencil/watercolor portrait. The blossom lasted weeks, then, along with the leaf, died away. For some reason, I kept the corm in a little container next to my drawing table. The next spring, I was surprised one day to notice a new leaf emerging. I quickly took it out to a beach-fringe spruce grove, and carefully planted it.

I know now that these orchids are both rare and sensitive, and I probably oughtn't to have taken it. Although I tried to transplant it, it likely died (I've not been back to look). But all the same, I'm so glad to have had the chance to get to know it so well. Years later, I can still feel the smooth, pearly surface of that corm…

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