We did not get hit with a blizzard on Friday after all, although much of the rest of the state did. Duluth, where I used to live, was hammered with what one state official called a "frozen hurricane"--high winds, a foot of heavy wet snow, downed powerlines, impassable roads. (And impressive storm photos right here.)
He urged residents to throw another log on the fire, pet the dog, and stay home. That's pretty much what I did most of the day; I was off work. I waited for the Storm of the Century to hit here, but somehow the weather avoided us. We mostly just got strong, sharp wind and icy rain.
So in the afternoon, I went over to the Como Conservatory to see if the Sumatran corpse flower was still blooming. It blooms just once every fifteen years, and then only for two days. Friday was the third day, so I knew my chances were iffy. The plant's claim to fame, of course, is that when it blooms, it gives off a horrific stench of rotting flesh. Who can resist that? On Thursday, the media trucks were parked out front early in the morning, before the place even opened. On Friday, the press was gone (except for me) but the crowds were still impressive. And who can blame them? You just don't get to smell rotting flesh often enough in today's society.
The plant wasn't hard to find:
The room it was in was pretty crowded. The flower, in a very large terra cotta pot, looked kind of forlorn and dead; its impressively erect shaft of a day ago was starting to, um, droop. (Don't worry; it happens to everyone.)
After a few people left, I made my way to the front, leaned in, and sniffed.
It did indeed smell of death, but only faintly. It reminded me of the smell that I endured for weeks when I lived on Seventh Street in Duluth, in the downstairs of a shabby duplex. A mouse or a shrew or something got between the walls and died, and until it fully decomposed, my apartment reeked with the stench of .... well, the stench of a Sumatran corpse flower, apparently.
I was glad that I had waited until the third day; the scent was still there, but it was faint and didn't make me gag; nor did it permeate my clothes.
And then, since I was already there, I wandered through the conservatory to look at the somewhat more ordinary but much prettier flowers:
Ah. Much better. And odor free.
Also....on a different topic... I've been getting more blog awards. The latest are from Sweet Irene, and from the Lehners in France (which is exactly where I would like to be right now).
The awards are posted over on the sidebar. I appreciate them, and I think they're great, and I'm pleased they took the time to honor me. I've kind of giving up passing on awards, because in a way it feels redundant--I've trimmed back my blogline list in the last few months only to those blogs that I really love. So if I visit your blog, you know it's because I really like what you're doing. These awards are also yours. Help yourself!
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