August 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

 Azaleas & Mountain Laurel


I took the photo on the left on a jog with O in Central Park on a misty spring morning, the second photo was taken somewhere in rhode island on the weekend of O’s cousin’s wedding, which was a truly beautiful hand made affair. O’s cousin is a talented illustrator and her new husband who works in film (I think they met doing a documentary on über Harry Potter fan bands) are this amazingly cute, crafty, creative couple with a fantastic sense of color. The whole thing was adorable and super sincere, it was a lovely thing to witness even as an outsider. Their first song was “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes—which is one of my absolute favorite songs… it’s a song that has an almost cinematic quality to it… hard to describe, but it immediately evokes a color palette of the early 70s—but at the same time it just feels like they’re having fun instead of trying to be super referential. Anyway Gaia and Gerald are kinda couple you’d like to duplicate, shrink down and stick in your pocket for advice on being a couple.

Back to flower musing… azaleas are originally from Asia, are very popular in Japan where it is known as Tsutsuji and where they have amazing Azalea gardens, like at the Nezu shrine in Bunkyo, Tokyo. Mountain Laurel, on the right is also called Spoonwood, which I think has to be one of my favorite flowers because it is equally as beautiful as a bud as it is as a flower. The buds look like tiny little pink lanterns. It is a relative of the blueberry and is native to the American Northeast. There’s a sweet little gathering of Mountain Laurel shrubs on the Western slope running down from the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park. There’s also a bunch of them growing along the carriage road in the Shawagunks park.

Ahhh, flowers… I think I’ve never drawn a single thing so many times. I remember there was this one issue of National Geographic on Texas wildflowers that I was obsessed with. I drew the flowers over and over again in imaginary gardens and landscapes. It was there that I first saw an image of the Columbine, which I never saw in real life until I moved up to the Bay. I wish I had just one of those drawings. Is it a narcissistic thing to miss the kid version of yourself? Yes.

A love for plants and flowers is definitely something that I inherited from my dad, a love I’m almost certain was passed down to him by his eldest sister, my Auntie Tinay whose  tiny but lush orchid collection held court in front of her shrine of the Virgin (a mini grotto that magically floated above top of a small goldfish pool). This bitty world on Pag Asa road bloomed behind tall concrete walls topped with shards of broken beer bottles. I’m not sure how I picked up my Dad’s flower habit, though I often think about my dad quietly watering his cactus collection in the little greenhouse window off the dining room.

Even though it was my dad who was the avid gardner, one of my favorite memories is of when I was about 8 or 9 and my mom cooked up this idea after she spontaneously bought me a bouquet in a tea cup… I remember these tiny little lilac flowers sprayed all over the mostly white arrangement. We were supposed to get a new arrangement every month or so in that same tea cup, of course with different flowers each month. It never happened but I’ll never forget how excited she was about this idea… I was never disappointed by the fact that this never happened. I was too distracted anyway, but I love this memory of my mom. It just reminds me of how we, on very rare occasions liked to daydream of things down to the very last detail, and it got so detailed that it became such a vivid memory with all the different flowers in the different colors over all of the different months… like we did so much without ever having to go through all the sadder and mundane things like hop into the car, hand over money at the register… wait for the flowers to die… get caught up in the futility of it all…


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