This has been a brutal year (-17°F in February, 110°+ repeatedly this summer) and it shows in gardens. Yews and arbor vitae are badly damaged if not dead, hostas are shriveled and sugar maples have few intact leaves left for their fall display. However, the naked ladies, a.k.a. Lycoris sqamigera, spent the worst of the heat undeground and look just dandy right now.
Lycoris radiata was blooming this morning at the local botanical garden. This is allegedly called “the flower of the dead” in Japan. It figures prominently in episode 18 of Shingu, in which Harumi and Moriguchi discuss events eleven years earlier.
The last time I watched Shingu, I was surprised to realize that I was smiling and occasionally laughing. Laughter is social behavior; when I watch the Marx Brothers or read Terry Pratchett alone at home, I don’t crack a smile, no matter how much I enjoy the absurdities. The people in Shingu are alive for me in a way fictional characters rarely are.
A couple of noteworthy links from the two Jonathans: