Beautiful Lapachos

Lapacho Tree across from my house

I already said once that in Paraguay there’s a saying that goes like, “In Paraguay there are just two seasons: summer, and fishing…”, meaning that besides the scorching heat of summer, all other seasons are just practical jokes of Nature.

Yesterday I was thinking precisely about that. We were in the midst of winter (remember, I am in the Southern Hemisphere), but we had a heat wave that was lasting over a month. Last night was especially warm; at 20.00 (8pm), the temperature was 29.6 C, or 85.3 F. The air was dry, but it was hot nonetheless.

However, there is a trait of our “wintertime hot days” that is completely different from summer: these days are dry. Yes, dry. Weeks, and weeks, and weeks, without any hint of rain or humidity. Sometimes is convenient (like when you hang your clothes to dry them off, and they are dry in a matter of mere hours), and sometimes isn’t (like when you see dust clogging every pore of your skin).

But you also see something else: dried Lapacho flowers and leaves everywhere. Walk around the streets of Asunción, and you will be treated to a beautiful scene: tall, imposing trees, covered in nothing but pink flowers. It is truly a sight to behold; I am never tired of seeing those beautiful Lapacho trees showing their colors. And below, there is the bed of dried leaves and fallen flowers, crackling under your steps…

Lapacho is a tree that does not flower in spring; it shows its flowers in middle or late winter. Common wisdom is that for Lapachos to flower, they must undergo a period of cold climate followed by a short period of warm weather. This is exactly what happened in June, so they began to flower, and amaze us with their splendor.

Last night we had a thunderstom followed by heavy rain and a drastic decrease in temperature, which now is around 14.5 C/58 F; a sorely needed relief. But Lapachos are still in the height of their splendor and beauty.

So, come with me; let’s have a walk on some quiet street of my city, and watch how some Lapacho flowers crumble on the floor, and some others bloom near the eternal blue sky, while we talk and drink tereré…

Photo: Lapacho Tree across from my house, by Webshots.com user cuddley3. Click on the photo to see a larger image.

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