Bloom where you’re planted?

Hilo rains are unpredictable. So my parents and I took advantage of a sunny day and headed toward Volcano. Before reaching Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, we stopped at my dad’s farm lot, a lifetime “project” that stocked our household with bananas, pineapples, jaboticaba, and much more. We then visited a sightseeing attraction among Japanese tourists, Akatsuka Orchids since my dad knows Moriyasu Akatsuka, who founded the company in the 1970s and grows gorgeous orchids for sale worldwide.

I read this sign near a display. It brought to mind the potted orchids I see in random garden shops and corner grocers. Most of low-priced commercial plants come from Thailand. In Vancouver a blooming phalaenopsis spray can be yours for $20-25.

To a potted orchid, Vancouver has extremely low humidity. In winter, indoor heating counters outdoor mist and drizzle. In summer, days are long, brilliant, and dry. I imagined legions of orchids in air-conditioned office buildings, Kitsilano mansions, and yoga studios.

How do these plants fare? Can they thrive away from their ideal climate?

Imagine if someone plucked you away from your preferred home because they liked the way you look? Could you live anywhere and be happy enough? Could you bloom where you’re planted?

I’m reminded of this passage in The Moon and Sixpence by Somerset Maugham:

I have an idea that some men are born out of their due place. Accident has cast them amid certain surroundings, but they have always a nostalgia for a home they know not…. They may spend their whole lives aliens among their kindred and remain aloof among the only scenes they have ever known. Perhaps it is this sense of strangeness that sends men far and wide in the search for something permanent, to which they may attach themselves… Sometimes a man hits upon a place to which he mysteriously feels that he belongs. Here is the home he sought, and he will settle amid scenes that he has never seen before, among men he has never known, as though they were familiar to him from his birth. Here at last he finds rest.

Here’s a shot of the entrance to my dad’s farm lot. He is definitely a man born in his due place.


  1. lovely post, great quote. it explains why, having never been overseas in my life, I felt like I had come home when my foot hit Indian soil the first time.


      1. I will check look for the book… I truly believe karma plays a huge role in how one connects and one doesn’t. for me, it was absolutely primal, visceral, like every cell in my body started to resonate when my foot hit the soil. I will never forget it. it was like a caged animal had finally been set free.

        my heritage is gypsy on my mother’s side and the gypsies originated in Rajasthan, so I am convinced I have the DNA of India. and yes, I am accepted there, more so there than here. karma.


  2. Hi Looseleaf – I believe you are right about our roots – we are adaptive, we can survive just about anywhere, but blossoming is another question. I felt that way every minute I’m in New Orleans, like my ancestors just lied about Poland and were really from Royal and St. Ann.


    1. Hi Doug: Do you think your affinity for New Orleans (do you pronounce it “new or-LEANS” or the other weird way?) is related to your music? What if you didn’t play the piano or didn’t like jazz? Maybe Linda’s affinity for India is related to her yoga practice.

      And, whatever your actual roots (Japanese, Jewish, etc), do you also feel a core of that lineage in you? Whether you grew up in a traditional household or not, do you think there is something inherently [Japanese, Jewish, etc] in you?

      Looseleaf the leafy one


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