Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Reading "The Gift of Rain" by Tan Twan Teng brought back memories when I was a young adult. Frangipani (photo above), an exquisite flower that was a central part of the story reminded me that flower too was part of my life story. May, the month when the young and the unmarried scoured the countryside and gathered different flowers to build an altar for the Virgin Mother. Every morning her devotees and the children offered her garlands.
Frangipani tree blooms with 5-petal fragrant flowers. Frangipani on her hair or a sampaguita lei on her neck. Of course the ilang-ilang, flower of flower with the lasting fragrance and the ephemeral white gardenia ( the rosal).

And there is pure long stem and white lirio, the flower carried by the bride.
These colors and fragrance all came back so clear to me.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Yesterday, I walked the 1500 feet long promenade along the river in downtown Napa. The sun drenched the new downtown park. There were only a handfull of people walking. Some of them wore straw hats and carrying shopping bags. Others were simply enjoying their walk and looked like with no destination in their mind. Simply exploring. My camera hanged across my chest and a paperback copy of the Magic Mountain in my right hand. There was a residential building being built along the the promenade and a huge crane moving high above the construction site. I could smell the scented aroma of food and heard garbled conversations as I passed one of the restaurants.It was lunch time.

Now and then I took pictures of the river, the bridge and the construction. There was a couple of fishermen on a boat fishing.

I continued my walk inside the shopping center. Next to the a store, I rested on the ledge around a fountain and read a few pages of the Magic Mountain. Hans and his cousin Joachim were talking about time and space."Yes, when you watch it, the time,it goes very slowly."..."But it takes such a varied length of time-to our senses." I understood maybe for the first time how enjoyable it was to read slowly. Most often I was in a hurry to go to the next page to learn where the story was going. I did a few stops along the way, once, sitting on a bench across a restaurant with outdoor sitting. Once a in a while to rest my eyes from reading I watched people walking by.

After maybe an hour I went back to my car and drove home.