The Natural Order Fulfilled
We see American Lotus siblings in two stages. At the peak of its glory, the bloom on the right is in the process of being pollinated by a friendly local bug. The round, olive green sibling on the left, having completed that task, is becoming uglier by the day. The clock is ticking to the day both are brown and dry, a precursor to their final fate of collapsing into their host pond. In so doing, they have guaranteed the next generation. The bloom you see above was the last in the colony. I spied no more buds. By the time this missive is being viewed by the first readers, the big bloom will have stomped well into its downward spiral. It was the last button on Gabe’s coat.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Pine Buff, Arkansas
The American Lotus colony in the pond in the southeast corner of the junction of I-530 and South Hazel Street in my hometown is a worthy, if not fickle photographic target. Last year, I managed to capture some “half-way-decent” images of the colony population. 2014 was a different story. The blooms were scattered and always showed me their backside. I was about ready to throw in the towel and wait for another 12 months — presuming the Almighty would see fit to allow my survival to and through the next far-too-short blooming season.
However, good fortune put me on an errand that took me past the colony. I cast one last furtive glance. To my utter amazement there was one bloom at peak, with its face in the right direction, positioned for a relatively easy shot. Heavens to Murgatroyd! Yikes! Hark! I completed the errand, returned, and got down to business. During the last few clicks of 136 exposures, the bug made his entrance for a couple of frames.
The bloom you see above is destined to becoming this gruesome looking seed pod with the appearance of a number of small infections.
The American Lotus has an abbreviated and interesting life cycle. In late spring or early summer, depending on your location, the plant begins to make its huge leaves. Then stems with large buds begin poking their heads from the pond and get on with the business of blooming, advertising their presence to the appropriate pollinators, getting the deed done, and closing up shop to transmogrify to butt-ugly seed pods.
When the pods begin to turn ugly the big leaves cash in their chips, turn brown, curl up and die. In a matter of ten days or so the once splendorific aquatic garden, rife with huge green leaves and giant blooms, transitions to a floating flora slum.
The corner plays host to additional species, including one I observed in its “gone-to-seed” stage. It looks like something borrowed from the Star Wars set. Another daisy-like plant gives the appearance of “this is your flower on drugs.”
Road-Tested and Tough
Not far from the lotus colony, I found this gone-to-seed cacophony of brown scaries. It has to be tough. It sprouted from the hard-pan shoulder of an interstate highway entrance ramp.
Having served its purpose of looking cool and becoming pollinated, this mini-daisy, a neighbor to the brown monster above, now looks like a poster child: This is your flower on drugs.
Having observed the rise and fall of the lotus family and the remains of other once-exquisite blooming partners gives one a reminder that while Mother Nature offers pleasing aesthetic views which enrich our lives, she does it not as an entertainment agent for the human race, but as a part of her plan of survival. The plants adhere to the plan: They rise from inglorious sleep, make preparations for the reproductive cycle, bloom and receive attention from the necessary bugs and birds to move boy spores to girl receptors, turn to seed, then fade into the sunset having served their purpose. Along the way they added visual dessert to our existence. To put us in our place, Mother Nature and her children could care less if we observe.
A Little Corner of the World
By the way, all of this came from one little macro environment at the junction of I-530 and South Hazel Street. What you will see at Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind, save one setup, also came from this little corner of the world.
PS: About that Button....
As with many time-worn sayings, there are several recognized meanings to the term "The last button on Gabe's coat." Reportedly, some even say "The last button on Gabriel's coat," although I've never heard that version uttered anywhere in Arkansas, let alone here in LA.
From what I can tell the term refers to the last child in a family. Some even go further and say that it refers to the last surviving child in a family, which makes our title perfectly appropriate. Today, I drove past the colony again and there was nary a bloom in sight.
But wait, there's more!
See other inhabitants of the corner,
a sticky and some poesies
up close and personal,
plus a nice crepe myrtle in the same mode,
all shot with the macro lens at
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