Fuchsia, or Tears of God

September 12, 2012

Fuchsias at the Washington Park Arboretum

I like the images describing fuchsia in this poem, which I read in “The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor.”  The dangling blooms have always reminded me of Oriental lanterns, but I had never heard them called “tears of God” until this poem.

Fuchsia
by Katrina Vandenberg

That summer in the west I walked sunrise
to dusk, narrow twisted highways without shoulders,
low stone walls on both sides. Hedgerows
of fuchsia hemmed me in, the tropical plant
now wild, centuries after nobles imported it
for their gardens. I was unafraid,
did not cross to the outsides of curves, did not
look behind me for what might be coming.
For weeks in counties Kerry and Cork, I walked
through the red blooms the Irish call
the Tears of God, blazing from the brush
like lanterns. Who would have thought
a warm current touching the shore
of that stone-cold country could make
lemon trees, bananas, and palms not just take,
but thrive? Wild as the jungles they came from,
where boas flexed around their trunks —
like my other brushes with miracles,
the men who love you back, how they come
to you, gorgeous and invasive, improbable,
hemming you in. And you walk that road
blazing, some days not even afraid to die.

Painting from a photo

Watercolor sketch of fuchsia

 

 

” . . . life under the sun, in the end, which is not the same as life elsewhere, because living outdoors one views space differently.”
— Muriel Barbery, from Gourmet Rhapsody

Paper lanterns for outdoor living

A string of colorful paper lanterns

The Japanese Garden in Seattle

I saw signs of autumn this week at the Japanese Garden in Seattle.  The edges of some maple leaves had already turned orange.  And the spiders were busy building webs.  I plan to return in October when the fall foliage should be at its peak.

The Japanese Garden is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.  It’s a lovely oasis in the city and well worth a visit.

Bridge over the ponds in the Japanese Garden

The leaves were starting to turn in the garden.

I love the pattern of leaves with their shadows.

Lily pads

Reflections in the ponds at the Japanese Garden

Feeding frenzy: koi vs. thieving duck

Colorful koi at the Japanese Garden

Ginkgo leaves

Green pine cone, Japanese Garden

I love how the spider web reflects the colors of the leaves.

One of several Japanese lanterns on the grounds of the Japanese Garden

From Hiroshima to Hope

August 7, 2010

From Hiroshima to Hope, a peace celebration at Green Lake

Kimono-clad for the celebration of peace

I attended an event last evening at Green Lake, From Hiroshima to Hope, to help remember victims of war and violence and to share prayers for peace.  At dusk, participants sent paper lanterns afloat in the lake.  It was a beautiful and festive celebration.

Three little girls hiding behind two fans

Waiting until dark to light lantern and set it afloat

Lanterns alight with hopes and wishes for peace

Launching a lantern in Green Lake

Floating lanterns