One of my favorite things to do is to walk barefoot in my garden in the mornings (keeping an eye out, of course, for fire ants and scorpions) in my long house dress, feeling all 50's housewife, minus the Valium, minus the martini, minus the man, and very, very content.
Around 10 am or so, the sun is just right, and I sit in my lounge chair drinking in the green and my espresso, filled with gratitude to have this marvelous beauty around me. My regular readers remember when I moved: what a big decision it was. I've had no regrets, especially today when I took this photo.
This ephemeral flower, cha ba ( "the flower that listens") lasts but one day. One of the holy flowers considered auspicious to take as paya (prayer offering) to the pagoda, it is twice as big as my hand, and large enough to function as a living hat.
It grew out of one of the many, giant clay pots in my garden that are filled with water to create mini ponds. I tried adding fish, but the ravens got to them. So, for now, the pots are fish-less, but filled with lotuses, lilies, and water hyacinth. (This image to your right is one of my collections of water hyacinth.) As for the flower: the stem is the thickness of a finger and extends three feet up from the surface; the leaves are large as a child's umbrella.
Like so many things in life, the flower doesn't last long.
But while it's here, what joy, what extravagant beauty.
A two hour drive out of Y. you will find one of this country’s best kept secrets: the 40-square-mile wetlands filled with water chestnuts, eels, lotus flowers, lily pads, snakes, reeds, water buffalo, and many species of wing-ed creatures such as dragonflies, mosquitoes, moths, and feathered birds of many colors. Add to this scene a group of fun-loving, outdoorsy folk willing to wear wigs while dining under the crescent moon, plus coolers (or, as the Aussies call them, “Eskys”) full of good eats, and you’re bound to have a great time.