Meredith has inspired me to gather some of the lotus pods. She explained that you never see pods amongst the lotus in Sri Lanka, because they are all harvested by the poor as a cash crop, and sold to the temples. I had planned to take some to an Equinox Festival tonight, so I climbed in to the kayak and very slowly worked my way through them.
As I picked each one, cutting it off at the waterline, I tucked it into the well of the kayak, trying not to spill the seeds.
You can imagine it was like working your way through a dense crowd, with each plant giving way a little to let me pass, then closing in again behind the kayak as I made a little progress. There were so many pods, I only picked those that were very close to me, and then only a fraction of those.
I cleared the main patch of older lotus, then entered the newer area, where the plants have flourished this year after the red azolla completed its cycle.
This is area where I noticed the way lotus leaves break the surface, curled up into a spear head, piercing older leaves or finding space between them, then unfurling over the top of whatever is on the surface, to create their wonderful circular ‘solar collectors’. See how leaves on the north are lying flat, while those behind them are tilted up to take advantage of the sun’s angle. The leaves on the south don’t miss out!
We decided it would be easier to make land again at the other end of the dam, so I paddled down to the my favourite tropical lilies in their shallow bay, waited for one last photograph and soon climbed out, triumphant with a huge bunch of lotus pods.
S has plans to prepare seeds to eat, I have plans to take some pods out with us tonight, and the others will stay here in the house, a promise of spring to come, of flowers to bloom again, all the glory of the lotus pond!
Nelumbo nucifera – The Lotus. This is a water plant grown both for its beauty and edible rhizomes.
The Lotus is said to be a divine plant considered to be the seat of Lord Brahma who as per Hindu religion is the creator of the Universe.
According to esoteric Buddhism, the heart of the beings is like an unopened lotus; when the virtues of the Buddha develop therein the lotus blossoms. This is why the Buddha sits on a lotus in bloom.
In Buddhism the lotus also symbolises the feminine principal. Specifically the red lotus, the one we grow, symbolizes the original nature of the heart (hrdaya). It is the lotus of love, compassion, passion, activity and all the qualities of the heart. It is the lotus of Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. Kuan Yin is the Chinese version of Avalokiteśvara, and has been one of my guiding lights since I first met her in 1995. So without understanding fully, I planted a red lotus in the dam below our bedroom window, subtly reminding me to be compassionate and live from my heart.
Here is the story of meeting Kuan Yin on an adventurous trip through Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.