Thursday, October 15, 2009
Bloom Day on the Cusp of Darkness
In October as the dark of winter draws near I think fondly of my nephew, not only because the theater of the jaloquin which he enjoys approaches but mainly because of the stapelia.
Carrion flowers are the emblem of underworldly October: obscenely bloated buds opening to flowers that mimic rotten flesh, emit unpleasantly earthy odors, attract flies, then shrivel up like so much flayed skin.
My nephew gave me a nice piece of stapelia a few years ago and it has grown into a fine specimen. This year it began blooming this week, a bit later than previous years, and is now working its spell on the local fly population. They seek out the flowers as egg-laying sites, being fooled by the smell and appearance. The eggs hatch into pitiful maggots that starve to death and shrivel into nothing even as the flower begins to fade.
A fitting salute to the end of the year.