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Posts Tagged ‘lotus’

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Back in March, when I was complaining about a series of heavy spring snows in New England, Deb said, “Save a picture for August, when we really need it.” I think the time has come.

Folks in the Northeast are not used to having temperatures day after day in the 90s combined with crazy-high humidity. Friends my age seem to find it totally enervating. If we can’t get to a bit of shade or find a breeze, we just sit like lumps — or move ve-ery slowly. Not all houses have air conditioning. In the past, it was seldom needed.

So it’s time to stop complaining about the heat and remember how I complained about the cold in March. Deb was right. One’s perspective changes. The picture above was taken on March 13 when I really would have preferred to see spring flowers coming up. Looks quite pleasant to me now.

I also have a few summer pictures to share. The tiny bird on what appears to be a telephone pole is actually a very large, fierce bird called an osprey. Towns along the New England coast construct special nesting platforms to keep osprey from building on telephone poles. You may see many such platforms if you take Amtrak through Connecticut. At this time of year, there may be several young ones — no longer babies — perfecting their new fishing skills.

And I include a bouquet of local wildflowers, the boats in New Shoreham’s Great Salt Pond, and four photos demonstrating how the lotus at a neighbor’s house looks as it opens. I have recorded this other years, but every year, it’s a miracle.

I can’t help noting that even the lotus seemed to take the sweltering summer rather hard. Several blossoms simply bowed over, hiding their faces somewhere among their roots in the pond. I know how they feel.

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Sandra and I have been keeping an eye on a neighbor’s lotus all week, hoping to see it bloom. Today was the day. Above is what the lotus looked like at 7:30 a.m. Below is the lotus at 8 a.m., at the end of our walk.

This exciting development sent me to the Tennyson poem about Odysseus landing on the island of lotus eaters. I don’t think I had ever read the whole thing. Here are excerpts.

A land where all things always seem’d the same!
And round about the keel with faces pale,
Dark faces pale against that rosy flame,
The mild-eyed melancholy Lotos-eaters came.

Branches they bore of that enchanted stem,
Laden with flower and fruit, whereof they gave
To each, but whoso did receive of them,
And taste, to him the gushing of the wave
Far far away did seem to mourn and rave
On alien shores; and if his fellow spake,
His voice was thin, as voices from the grave;
And deep-asleep he seem’d, yet all awake,
And music in his ears his beating heart did make. …

Surely, surely, slumber is more sweet than toil, the shore
Than labour in the deep mid-ocean, wind and wave and oar;
O, rest ye, brother mariners, we will not wander more.

I’d say that’s an early example of an altered state.

According to wikipedia, however, our lotus is Nelumbo nucifera, whereas the one that hooked the Greek mariners was probably Ziziphus lotus, which doesn’t look nearly as pretty.

Sandra was interested in the showerhead-like seed pod. If you get close, you can see a blue-ish seed peeking out of every hole.

And what amazing seeds they are! As the invaluable wikipedia reveals, “An individual lotus can live for over a thousand years and has the rare ability to revive into activity after stasis. In 1994, a seed from a sacred lotus [in Northeastern China], dated at roughly 1,300 years old ± 270 years, was successfully germinated.”

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Two of my grandchildren just got back from a month in Scandinavia with their parents, visiting the Swedish side of the family. It’s amazing how much kids can develop in one month.

The baby left here with four teeth and came back with eight. She could barely reach for something without falling over and now crawls like a demon. Her older brother is more of a conversationalist than ever and has returned with new ideas for playing with old toys.

The children bloomed and blossomed with all the love and attention of their Swedish family.

The lotus below was also blooming during the past month.

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Here are a few autumn photos from the island. The lotus on the left is indifferent to having looked prettier in the summer. It’s still interesting.

I include milkweed about to sow itself to the four winds, clothes drying on a line, a chair that sat on a houseless property all summer, yellow bittersweet with red winterberry, a neighbor’s shed, and leaves collecting by a bench.

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Inside my neighbor’s lotus flower is something that looks like a shower head. I think I will make a new year’s resolution on it (the school year, say): “Because you can never imagine what’s inside the lotus, try to be alert to the subtext.”

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