This time of year a rain storm feels like Christmas morning. Two days now I've watched bright-sky summer storms from the porch, the kind where sun is illuminating the rain from strange angles and you still see patches of blue in the sky. It makes me giddy a little. I actually laid down on the edge of the deck and let it fall on me for a few minutes. Drought does funny things to the brain.
[side note: grammar rules for lay and lie are absurd and I refuse to observe them. Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan are with me on this]
Emily and I made a fire in the backyard last night and it reminded me that I meant to do a little tribute to the blushing bride protea. I'm an even bigger fan of this one after reading up on it a bit. They are native to South Africa and critically endangered in the wild. The species was first observed in 1773 by Swedish botanist Carl Thunberg, but wasn't seen again for over a hundred years and was considered extinct until a brush fire stirred a dormant seed bank around 1891.
The seeds have a delicate relationship to fire which partially accounts for their scarcity. They will not germinate until a fire has occurred, but too-frequent fire will destroy the seedlings before they are mature enough to flower.
The flamelike petals range in color from white to deep pink. The name blushing bride, according to one version of the folklore, originated from the tradition of a young man wearing the flower in his lapel on his way to propose. The deeper the shade of pink, the more ardent his love. Hence a blushing bride. Sweet story but I actually think the white ones are prettier. The ones in these pictures are some of the pinkest I've seen.
They are only available briefly in late summer/early fall as a cut flower here in the states. I definitely prefer them over pumpkin spice lattes as harbingers of fall.