It is the time of the red flowers. Shy bottle brush are drooping in their trees, looking down as if they’re eager for a bottle to clean. They’re everywhere, but they’re withdrawn in the foliage whereas the spathodea on the tops of their trees dominate. They are held up to the skies by lush and long green pods that have opened the way palms open in prayer. To their tips the flowers reach for the skies, and then they drop to the ground.
The spathodea are large. They’re the size of city toads and they are fleshy and when you step on them they squirt juice and they bother the sole. They are fallen in large numbers everywhere, and whereas the freshly fallen are red, the flowers that’ve been dead longer rot to colors and a structure that reminds me of decomposing vermin. There’s something about the spathodea in life and death that makes them seem animal, even if a small one. I cannot discern a tenderness in them that I expect in a flower.
Over at Wikipedia I learnt that the spathodea companulata is an invasive species. Like the human! In this year I’ve watched films showing apes taking over the earth; and blight and dust enveloping the planet; and hapless humanity fleeing through a wormhole to interstellar places, finding new homes with “pleasant gravity”. How about the spathodea, I’m thinking. How about a story in which our blue planet turns a saturated red?