Season’s Greetings, Doodles, and Stories

by Maria Theresa Maggi on December 13, 2021

"Christmas Trees Under Moon," mixed media by Maria Theresa Maggi

“Christmas Trees Under Moon,” mixed media by Maria Theresa Maggi

Holiday greetings, my dear readers, however you celebrate, It’s  been a while since I’ve posted so I thought I would try to catch you up a bit. As I may have mentioned, one of the things I turned to that helps me cope with missing my foster grand baby is what I call “doodling.” Months ago it started as a way to escape and distract myself from the grief, if only for a little bit. I decided to call them Therapeutic Doodles and there’s about 14 of them. Here’s a few of my favorites:

“Therapeutic Doodle 2,” by Maria Theresa Maggi


“Therapeutic Doodle 5,” by Maria Theresa Maggi


“Therapeutic Doodle 14,” by Maria Theresa Maggi

I have also kept myself busy illustrating my horoscope and astrology posts over  at Maria’s StarGarden on substack. Some of those posts are free and I think almost all of them allow you to see the art, if you like to look at pictures of the moon.

The doodles have morphed into some with actual objects in them, and then on to the Christmas card illustrations like the one at the top that I’m having fun sending to friends.

Over Thanksgiving we got together here at the coast and then headed to Portland to see the Beyond Van Gogh exhibit. Something told me to say “yes” to that invitation even though the description of the exhibit cautioned people who have problems with vertigo to consult their doctors. Service animals were allowed, though, so I decided to trust my gut and take a chance. And OH. MY.

I did expect I might be overstimulated or in the liminal land of almost dizzy, but I did NOT expect to be overcome by such beauty and memories that I found the tears streaming involuntarily down my cheeks. Here I am taking it in, unaware my son has snapped of photo of me and Cotton:

I love seeing this and always having evidence that I literally had my hand on my heart as I took it all in. Many thanks to my daughter-in-law’s family for getting us these tickets.

And finally, a story of an orchid, the kind where I get to tell on myself and how wrong I can be sometimes in the way that always cracks me up. Very healing.

A few years ago a neighbor friend got me a beautiful orchid for my birthday. For several months it thrived and bloomed, then went dormat. I cut off the old stems and waited, and the next year it bloomed again. At some point during a family visit it might have been placed by something it didn’t like or where it was too warm so we could use the table it’s on and one by one the blossoms dropped off. For a very long time it was dormant. I went to youtube university and watched people repot, water and care for their orchids. I decided to get it a new pot, some orchid potting mix and some food “spray.” I did all  I thought was required, trying different “better” ways to water it, and waited. And waited. It grew new leaves and some air roots, but no blooms. Then one day I accidentally knocked it over. The whole plant and it’s medium came out of the pot. I did my best to put it back in, but frankly it seemed to have absolutely no interest or motivation to get back in that pot the way it had been. It was in there, but sideways, kind of resting on its side in the pot and even more air roots grew. And nothing else happened. I had long had to get rid of the stake that used to hold the blooms upright. As the months past, I continued to water it in a desultory manner and blamed myself for almost killing it, or shocking it out of its ability to bloom. I considered giving up and either throwing it out or asking a neighbor who seemed to be having more success with hers from the looks of her facebook page if she would like to rescue it. But I didn’t. Every time I watered it, I lamented my failure to get it back in the pot “right,” and help it bloom.

And then, one day, I saw something coming out of the nexus of leaves that did not seem to be a gray air root. I was skeptical. But then, oh my gosh, then, I could see it was a whole new stalk, growing sideways, and about to bloom. Not once, but several–perhaps even more than when I first got it. and there was also a second, smaller stalk. Here is my sketch of it from one angle this December:

“Sideways Orchid,” mixed media by Maria Theresa Maggi

Of course the joke is on me. My “failure” to get this orchid back in the pot in an upright manner actually allows it to grow more like it might sitting in the top of a tree somewhere, it’s air roots taking in the mist and moisture around it. No stakes in its natural habitat to make sure it stands up straight–for who? Hahahaha. I love my sideways orchid, and what its teaching me about borrowed or unquestioned expectations and ideas of failure or success. And it reminds me that I do not know how things will turn out in the end, which, in itself, is a blessings that heals me.

So however you celebrate these holidays or not this year, I wish you all your own version of a sideways orchid, or an experience you were worried about being able to handle instead bringing you to tears of joy at the beauty of it. May we all stay brave, well, kind and true to the mysterious gift of life.

Maria (moonwatcher)







Leave a Comment

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Margaret Evans December 14, 2021 at 7:12 am

loved the story about the orchid


2 Maria Theresa Maggi December 14, 2021 at 10:05 am

thank you Marge! so glad! xo


3 Shelie December 30, 2021 at 2:20 pm

Oh how I love your writings and the lovely picture of your and Cotton.


4 Maria Theresa Maggi December 30, 2021 at 2:35 pm

Thank you so much Shelie!


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