Monday, April 11, 2011


It rained and things cooled last night but the sun and the heat have come flooding back in with the light. The dak champa are blooming in all their different colors. It's a distinctive tree. Nothing on it droops. All its branches are strong; every flower is help up, presented, on a solid base. Dak champa somehow reminds me of a honeycomb, the way its stiff gray branches create cells as they curve over each other in space, decorated with flowers like swirls of icing. Even the flowers are hard to crush. Their delicate shading doesn't match their real toughness.

I am reading a book about Europe. It's Sunday morning. The coffee and croissants at this bakery are real; the wood is rea; the stone is real. I may have accidentally pointed the sole of my foot at someone, a very rude mistake. My shorts are too short for Laos, but it's the New Year and about a block further down this road are kids and adults wanting to douse me with water, so I've relaxed my fashion standards. My armpits are damp; if I let my hair sit on the back of my neck I feel feverish.

Across the narrow street is a wat surrounded by very low, very white walls. (This is the season for cleaning the temples.) But between me at the back of the cafe and the wat is a complicated depth of greenery: first, a kind of small palm, three spindly stalks with three puffballs on top, the leaves wilted and swaying without the least resistance. Then dak champa, strong and graceful, gray stems lifting pink and white flowers upright like an offering. Something behind intrudes into the picture from the top left corner (framed by the dark beams of the cafe's open front) little spiky twigs and strands of oval leaves. The whole branch bobs constantly. Behind that is the bean tree with its long black seed pods that dangle oddly all up and down its arms. Underneath the bean tree is a shrub with broad, shiny, dark green leaves that burst out all over it in star shapes. Each group of five leaves looks like it's just exploded.

There are a dozen other green things that I've ignored.

I love every plant. Why is this? I don't even know their names. I think I might love them just because they are abundant. They seem so good at just being alive. They quietly do the thing they are supposed to do; that's it.

(Sadly, my love for plants doesn't seem to have turned me into a good gardener. I'm going to have to work on this.)

Thunder, every night. The rains are here early.

No comments:

Post a Comment