Greetings Everyone,

May in Chiangmai. It’s hot. Very hot! But we’re having some early rains and that helps.

As the saying goes: “I don’t get around much any more”, but even here, in this quiet little village that floats amidst a sea of rice paddies, I keep reasonably informed about the comings and goings of my home country; various media sources and information from friends filter through. I stay in touch. Probably more than I need to. Or should.

Before I talk about the feast for the eyes, a few comments about what does filter through. While I’m not surprised, I continue to be disheartened by the same old, ever-present, political antics from those who carelessly exploit the weakest and most unstable part of our social fabric in order to keep…what? the illusion of power? What inestimable damage done to all of us by such devious and dangerous codswallop; intolerance breeds intolerance and this is perhaps the most destructive weapon we possess in the arsenal of our ignorance. You can find more of my thoughts on the issue here at Ezine: Lean Out Into The World

I must also mention the continuing plight of the three elephants (Chai, Bamboo, and Watoto) still being held captive in Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo. It’s shocking that in spite of an avalanche of evidence from a wide variety of respected animal experts, supporting the strongest reasons for allowing the elephants to be retired into a sanctuary, the zoo folks and city officials remain utterly intractable in their decision to keep these three elephants in a space that is too small and serving no conceivable purpose which could possibly benefit elephants or humans. The struggle will go on, I’m sure, but eventually, just as a growing number of zoos have wisely chosen to discontinue what is essentially nothing more than animal cruelty, the zoo in Seattle will no doubt release them. That they don’t do it sooner, rather than later, is an act of stubbornness and stupidity at the expense of those things we can do to ameliorate the damage we’ve already done; in this case, using animals for our entertainment.

But allow me to turn the eyes to flowers. They are everywhere present in this tropical climate and this is month that many of the trees explode in color.

The tree above, Cassia fistula, or locally known as the Golden Shower tree is Thailand’s national tree as well as the state flower of Kerala, India. Not only is it medicine for the eyes, but it’s been used in herbalism for millennia, mostly as a purgative.

THe two images above are the Royal Poinciana tree, also known as Dton haang nok juung , the Peacock Tail Tree,  also known as the Royal Poinciana. Until it blooms, this lovely tree is rather reticent…almost lost among the more vigorously leafed trees. But then…POW! It’s magnificent. It’s pure visual strength lies in the fact that it’s brilliant red is completely on the opposite side of the color wheel…it’s direct complement is green and these two hues vibrates against the cones of our eye’s color receptors with agitating intensity.

Surely flowers evolved not for us and our various symbolic attachments but for and with insects in complete symbiotic orchestration. A negotiation. ” You can have my honey, if you spread my seed.”  Well, that’s the way is with most things, isn’t it?….but not everything.

I don’t know the name of above plant. It’s a small water plant that grows beneath  a healthy papyrus in my yard. These blossoms appeared overnight and lasted for little more than 24 hours. Perhaps someone can send me the name of it, but I’m calling it the ‘Cobra Lily’ for obvious reasons.

Another common Lily I have no name for. The Lilly Lady Gaga? That will work.

The two shots above represent the third largest display of flowering trees, seen in profusion along the roads and canals that carve through the rice paddies.

The above shot is the magic Plumeria, also known as Frangipani. Their remarkable fragrance, most intense in the evenings, is designed to arouse the nocturnal Spinx moth. According to ancient Southeast Asian legend, this flower houses the spirits of ghosts and demons but also it’s symbolically attached to both Hindu and Buddhist religious rites.

I can’t say for sure what  overly-aroused moths these are. I’ll call them Tiger-bee moths.

The above is what a banana tree offers passing insects.

And of course, the most noble flower around is the lotus blossom. It’s rich symbolic history stretches far back into ancient Egypt, India and Southeast Asia and here in Thailand it represents the Spirit of the Buddha and Panom’s Stone of Light

panom, Galen