A splash of seasonal colour

I have written about the seasonal colours in Yangon and across the country before.

2011 in the field

It is that sensational time of year again, with colours contrasting dramatically against the vibrant greens of the foliage.  It is spectacular and I do not tire of gazing at these incredible colours.

Yangon 2013It is also that time of year, as the monsoon rains approach and touch us, that the chorus of song outside the window at night becomes deafening.  The bullfrog has gathered some friends and together they call out with their strange, characteristic growl to those rains.

And once the rains come, the blossoms will fall and the colours change again, with the leafy greens taking back their dominance.

Flamboyant tree Yangon

So that is why I have decided that this would be a highly fitting background image for the blog for the next couple of weeks, so that we can hold on to and cherish that transient strong colour.

The flamboyant free in full flamboyance!

The flamboyant tree in full flamboyance!

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Ch – ch – ch – changes…

There has been some rather serious talk on here in the past couple of weeks, what with trust, honesty and then the impromptu prompt which led to a discussion on mental health and cancer.  And then more discussion on mental health and cancer.  So I have decided that I should punctuate this with a bit of a change.  (And I do mean punctuate – these topics are too important to move away from).

Change is the Big Word on everyone’s lips in this neck of the woods at the moment. It is all around us and causing a great deal of interest and curiosity. I have suddenly become highly popular (purely by virtue of being here just now) and I am constantly being asked whether I think there is change underway.  It is incredible to be here and enormously encouraging.  I am fascinated and optimistic.

And while all of that change is going on, there is a different change in the air.  That of the change of season.  The hot, dry season becomes more and more hot and less dry as the humidity increases and monsoonal clouds gather a few days away.  The greatest barometer of that change is, in my view, to be seen in the riot of colour which erupts in Yangon during this pre-monsoonal season.

I completely missed it 2 years ago, living in a radiation bunker and hiding away with my shiny, bald head. So when I woke up to the spectacular colour fest all around me last year, I was totally taken aback and spent the weeks gasping at and admiring the incredibly bright colours everywhere.

The colour seems to start with the jacaranda, and a variety of purple blooms take over the city.

Then the yellows, oranges and reds of Padauk, flame and other trees, with all manner of coloured blooms appear, contrasting vividly against the green foliage.  The flame tree looks as if it has no foliage at all and stands out dramatically.

While travelling with a colleague yesterday, she pointed out the orangey yellow blossoms of the Padauk tree.  These blossoms stay for less than a day, and fall on the ground making a yellow carpet within hours of blossoming. The trees were bulging with blossom and it was hard to imagine that it would all be gone within a few hours.

My colleague the told me that thirty – forty years ago the Padauk flowered only once, at the Thingyan festival time.  Now it seems to flower after a heavy rainstorm, the trees are forced into blossoming perhaps half a dozen times before the season passes.

And the season will pass, the trees will gradually lose their poster paintbox colours as the rainy season reaches us and washes the colours away. Monsoon is imminent.  It should enter the southern border and sweep northwards in our direction.  We will again become used to the sounds of frogs and their loud croaking as they call out across the muddy grasses.  The crickets will create a chorus of chittering anc chirruping. We hear the distant rumble of thunder and the characteristic whispering of the bamboo as the winds bring each fresh rainstorm.  And the unmistakable and incredibly restful sound of the monsoon rains pouring in torrents, rhythmically drumming on the paths and roofs.  There is something both peaceful and invigorating about the rains cascading.

Oh yes.  Change is in the air indeed and we are in a wonderful space, surrounded by colour as the air cools and the life-giving rains sweep in.