Monday, December 28, 2009

Orchid of Five Wounds

Orchid of Five Wounds
Is there such an orchid?

"It comes from a plant, Inday, that grows in the deep woods. It is an orchid, and it has a very unusual name, Five Wounds, Orchid of Five Wounds. Quite unusual, isn't it? But not anymore than Baby's Breath or Angel's Tears. This one got its name because on the tip of each white petal is a spot of red or purple, like a drop of blood. There is a legend that when Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross, some drops of blood from his wounds fell on this plant. Hence the name. Someday I shall tell you more about the legend."

This is an excerpt from The Orchid of Five Wounds, a short story about a sixteen-year old girl suffering of inoperable blindness. The attending doctor was describing this very rare flower. Before the kind doctor described the flowers, the patient caressed the flowers separately, feeling the petals, bringing the bunch nearer her nose. "I have never seen it before, but I think it is beautiful. Ten flowers on one stalk, petals like pearls... the fragrance reminds me of orange blossoms, but it is not..."

This excerpt gives the reader an idea on how loving a doctor can be in treating a patient. It reveals the doctor's knowledge of psychology and botany, separate disciplines he managed to unite with healing. There is mystery about the specimen - does this orchid really exist?

No one knows exactly. But the doctor in this story is thought to be the author himself - Dr Arturo B Rotor- in whose honor a new orchid he discovered was named after him, Vanda merrilii rotorii as described by Dr Eduardo Quisumbing, the country's foremost botanist. There's one thing, writers usually lead their readers into the realm of a mysterious world where the essence of living is elevated to a higher plane that challenges the faculty and psyche.

Surely the Orchid of Five Wounds resides in that realm. ~

The Men Who Play God, by Dr Arturo B Rotor, 1866 Republic Heritage Awardee, contemporary of Jose Garcia Villa, Salvador Lopez and Manuela Arguilla. Published by Ateneo de Manila University)

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