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By Robin Mayer Stein

PROMPT — During COVID-19 ...

A few months ago, my friend Margaret gave me a gorgeous orchid with magenta and white flowers. How festive and joyous! When all the blossoms fell off, I moved the plant to a corner, assuming its blooming days were done.

Hilda, a friend who knows plants, said, “Water it once a week.” When I remembered, I would put two ice cubes on the soil for slow release of water. My orchid sat in the corner in exile.

We, too, are exiled in our homes but we can take walks. One block over, I see a path lined with small flags from all over the world. They wave in the breeze, reminding me of my fifth grade trip to the United Nations. 

The guide showed us the Meditation Room, with beige sofas and low lights. She said that diplomats came here to think when they had big decisions to make, really big decisions about war and peace. As she led us from the room, I lingered a moment, listening to the silence of the space.

These days, we have all grown tired of our spaces. Home feels like a prison with the walls closing in. We want to break out and run down the street, our arms flapping like wings. We want to shout to the universe, “We’re still here!”

This morning, when I visited my orchid, I discovered a magenta flower in glorious bloom. Nature, often cruel and devastating, offers us hope at just the right time.


Robin Mayer Stein grew up in NYC and lives in Newton, MA. She teaches Memoir and Expressive Writing for adults. Her work has appeared in The New Renaissance, Sidelines and Home Planet News. She published a children's book, My Two Cities, last year. During this time, she is nurturing herself with Zoom visits to friends, family and students, exercising, music, and journaling.


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