The change

Today I tackled a short but demanding walk. Yesterday I did a longer but less strenuous hike. The seasons are changing. The temperature has fallen a mere 5 or 6 degrees at most but it feels so much better. Humidity is down and the breeze on the ridge of Siu Ma Shan was invigorating. It did not however help me keep the camera steady.

I promised myself I would pick just one image each time if I tried to blog regularly again. It makes me think about why I have selected a particular image. I don’t really know why but plants have never captivated me the way birds and insects have done. I think it is because I simply don’t know where to start. I have a good few reference books but when I open one I genuinely have no idea what to look for. I quickly find the photographs are not sufficiently detailed to key something out. I have tried a couple of plant ID apps and find them very inconsistent.

So why then I wonder did I select a plant today. The chosen one is the beautiful Bamboo Orchid, Arundina graminifolia. It is probably the commonest of the many HK orchids. Even so it is unwise to disclose too much location detail. Orchid hunters will come and dig them up with no hesitation. The clump I found today was a mere 5 or 6 flowers and they are probably passed by dozens if not hundreds of hikers each day. Most probably do not know they are orchids. They are a bit garish, dare I say. Eye-catching if not startling. Run of the mill scrubby hillside shocked by the colour burst. Shocking pink indeed.

Arundina graminifolia
Arundina graminifolia

I felt this might be my only reward for the hard climbs, up and down. The knees took some jarring and later I was happy to relax for an hour or two. Tomorrow I have a session with my personal trainer, who is trying to strengthen my back, improve my balance and enhance my very constrained flexibility. I hope the combination of fitness training and hiking will keep me active longer.

This photo is technically undemanding – little more than a point and shoot. I find it oddly satisfying and reassuring that the complexities of photography can be reduced to such a simple image. I also took half a dozen DNG/RAW files with my phone today. I still marvel that the camera in my phone can produce such flexible files and I can play with them on the phone for immediate posting if I wish. I am definitely subscribing to the phone as a sketchbook idea. The creative process is the end game not the technical data. The orchid is beauty in its simplest form and so it earns its place in my blog today.

11 thoughts on “The change

  1. The way you feel about plants is how I feel about birds. I like them, but have difficulty making sense of them. Now, flowers I get! I really like this orchid and am delighted that you chose it. Sometimes, point and shoot does the job perfectly, I think. I know of a place where bright, garish orchids grow right along a trail. Every year I hold my breath, hoping poachers don’t notice them.

  2. Wonderful captures. My second time around on WordPress runs out in a few days. I’m busy, happy, poorly and eating well. Jolly is great company on walks or stretched out by the fire. Wishing you and Mrs H a Happy Christmas, safe and peaceful new year and if you want to keep in touch I’ll happily provide you with an email address. Simon

  3. The orchid is a beauty and as I viewed your photo I immediately saw it as an orchid. I have no idea why but it just looks like an orchid to me. Anyway, as we all age, mobility I suppose, becomes a problem for most. I find that stamina is most pressing. But it is getting better since I am taking more B vitamins and walking a little bit longer or taking more short walks after resting for an hour or so. I do hope the trainer can get you to the goal that you have set.

    • Thanks Yvonne. Another training session today and I too have started taking vitamin B. Don’t overdo it and I’m sure your mobility will be fine for a good many years to come – healthy living helps a lot.

  4. I certainly understand the relief that comes with lessened heat and humidity. We’re about to cool a bit more, and everyone is filled with anticipation.

    Like you, I sometimes obscure the location of special plants. A few of our orchids are so undependable location would hardly matter; they may bloom one year, and then disappear for several. Still, discretion, valor, and all that.

    The structure and color of this one do resemble one of our native orchids, but I’m not sure I would have recognized this as an orchid — at least, not immediately. I’d say it was a fine reward for your day’s wandering.

    • I don’t know much about the life cycle of orchids. I went looking for another species recently and did not find any. Perhaps they are not annual. I always find something to make a walk worthwhile even if it is just the exercise logged. Back to 29C today – roll on cooler days.

      • I’ve generally found the orchids I’ve shared in about the same place but often the numbers are up or down and they may not be exactly the same plant year after year. Many are taxed by flowering and take a year off I have learned.

        There is a clump of lady’s slippers I photograph every once in awhile located just a few feet from a rail trail path that is visited by large numbers as you describe. I don’t think many people notice it which is good because sure enough someone will ignorantly condemn it to death by digging it up with the idea of transplanting it.

        I think you made a good choice with this lovely little orchid.

      • There are nurseries here that specialise in orchids and people can buy most species if they wish. However often people prefer to dig up the wild flowers instead. The Bamboo Orchid seems to flower regularly so it isn’t hard to find but this is not in an easy place to get to – someone has to make a long trek up to the ridge to get there which probably saves them.

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