Color, Light and ‘Highlight’ – 曇花開了

A gorgeous Sunday. Extremely quiet and peaceful in Crescent Lake. The water is blue and calm, with slight ripples, and no waves. But when the boat steams up, white waves churn and roar.  It is only white and blue, but action-packed. Sunlight has dramatized it all.
Excited and misted by the boat ride, it is nice to ease into an afternoon recess on the deck among the lofty firs and occasional visits from Hummingbirds and Stella Jays.
The little ones began to put out their toys while the big ones are cooling off with beers and lemonades. Don’t know since when the deck has gradually (hypothetically) become a studio of our little artist and she looks quite serious, too. It is unpredictable what little ones are capable of these days.  It is my fun and my job to capture the moment.
Wish every day is a weekend day but we have to leave. Summer is almost over. I want to hold on August a bit longer. Back home, we have our dinner on the patio. A light supper with healthy ingredients plus a glass of wine makes us have a pleasant evening. It is 82 degrees outside, but the light breeze and patio umbrella have made us an enjoyable dinner retreat.
White linen has Bordeaux wine bleached through… imagine. A small forest was shown through the utensils, oh, light. And the colors, the source of the ambiance.
A cup of authentic Chinese tea made from fresh tea leaves to wash down the aftertaste of red wine refreshes and adds a relaxing effect.
colored tea time

I love these colorful hand-made tea cups. Drinking tea in a real tea cup makes me ponder on tradition and cultural values. The coffee cup is meant for coffee or drinking tea out of tea bags.  In the past, freshly dehydrated tea leaves were usually of higher quality than the content of a tea bag. Nowadays tea bag quality is improved and enhanced with hydrating fruits and flower pieces which may add a hint of flavor but mostly serve a marketing purpose.

A nice cup of Chinese tea is brewed from whole tea leaves (not from individual tea bags) and there are serving rules. There is no doubt in my mind that bag tea has no comparison with the tea brewed in the traditional method.

I did not plan to talk about flowers again, but…  Epiphyllum 曇花 is originated from South Africa. It would only bloom in the evening between 8-12 o’clock and the bloom lasts only 4-5 hours before it starts to fade.  Chinese literature uses Epiphyllum to symbolize short-lived occurrence (曇花一現). The flower is also named ‘Moonlight Beauty’ because of its blooming at the night. For the fact that it blooms once a year and lasts only a few hours. Unless you are mindfully watching its growth, you may not see the flowers for years.  My sister gave me a couple of leave cuttings when I was there in June.  In California, the blooming season for this flower was over then. I was not sure if it will grow in Oregon and if it does, I thought, it will be next year or years to come.

6:45pm, 1st day

Completely caught me by surprise, I saw reddish something popping up on the edge of the leave about three weeks ago. I emailed my sister and she said, that is a flower bud! The ‘bud’ grows bigger every day.   While sipping my tea and enjoying the blueberry silk cake, I discovered the size of the bud looks bigger than ever and it seems to me that the flower can pop at any time. Still not totally convinced that I am going to see a flower,  I however had my camera ready. Maybe they would bloom tomorrow night, I thought.

11:00pm, 1st day
It was all dark outside and a TV show was on the inside. House was warm and I decided to go to the patio for some fresh air.  Instinctively I turned my head, and I saw the bloom!!!  It was close to 10:00pm.My heart was racing and I rushed to grab my camera. This was my first experience trying to use a macro lens in the evening and I am not quite used to it. I had hard time viewing the details. On the other hand, I was not sure then how long the bloom would sustain, so I took as many pictures as I can for about an hour. The shot on right was taken at 11:00pm.

This flower is a more creamy white color. I tried not to use flash, but it appeared to be mission impossible without a flash to get the color right. Flash also took away some details. I have to be more prepared next time.

1:40pm, 2nd day
7:00am, 2nd day

I downloaded all my pictures to assure that I have them before I went to bed. I am not sure how much longer before the flower began to fade, but this is what I saw when I checked it again at 7:00am, the next morning.

The blossom seemed to close completely when I took the image on right at 1:40pm and the look remains till now.

I think Epiphyllum is simply magnificently gorgeous and utterly exquisite. I wish she was not so hurried to conceal her peerless splendor. I was surely lucky to capture the moment.

A few more images for your enjoyment:

3 thoughts on “Color, Light and ‘Highlight’ – 曇花開了

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