There’s An “Us” in Lotus

Eastsider L.A. has a post up considering the present loss and future restoration of the Echo Park Lake lotus. Showcased in the entry is an absolutely amazing picture of a lotus pad floating atop the reflecting waters while holding what looks to be someone’s spilled fruit punch. The unlikely combination of elements somehow combines to speak so fluently of the spirit of the lake as an urban oasis and the landmark it is for those who frequent it. But the photo tells of something else as well, something ominous — the lotus is bleeding.

If the magnificent and historic plant was still thriving as it had for years, I’d think nothing of the garish red fluid. But with its demise, the invasive beverage indicts us. Whether such a foreign substance, and one the garish color of blood, was added carelessly or intentionally does not matter. What matters is it was done. Just as was done whatever manmade events and toxins ultimately conspired to doom the lotus, be it fouled stormwater runoff, polution. They weren’t purposefully added. But we added them just the same.

IMG_1297.JPGTurns out that foretelling image was taken back in 2005 by my friend Hexodus who lives in Echo Park but who I last saw last summer when Susan and I were vacationing in Guanajuato at the same time he was doing an extended-stay study program at the university there. He introduced us to the Truco 7 Cafe (pictured at right), which is THE place to go for breakfast in Guanajuato, so write that down because Guanajuato should be on your list of places to go.

Similar to the “Office Trees Over Time” set I’m compiling over in this set on Flickr, I made a resolution in 2008 to stand in the same spot beside the lotus lagoon every day and take a picture to document the growth of that year’s bloom. I broke that one immediately and it’s just as well because it never happened. Instead, the only blossoms that rose last summer were prints of his photos of the flowers that another Echo Park friend of mine, Mr. Rollers, had staked out along the lake’s banks as memorials to the vanished beauty.

Here’s one I took of a blossom in 2007, pretty much the last year they bloomed: