23 October 2009

Wang Tong is for Dreamers

I think autumn, October in particular, is the favorite time of year for people who are dreamers, whereas pragmatists prefer spring. If so, then Wang Tong is for the dreamy type.

Spring is always metaphorically associated with fertility, lushness, perfume and lasciviousness. But you would change your mind about that if you visited Wang Tong in October, on any dry day just before sunset. The ginger blanketing the valley has been in bloom continuously for weeks, but as the weather has cooled, the ginger plants have turned their blossoming up several notches, as if squeezing out one last big push, like marathon runners in the last half mile, before gently closing down for the winter.

The ginger flowers spread across the field are so white that no details show up in photographs. That's why I want you to come here before sunset, so you can see them before the real treat begins.

About an hour after sunset, you not only smell it, but you can feel it. For reasons I've never learned, the ginger flowers turn up the fragrance tap after dark. That isn't to say there's no aroma while the sun is up. All day long I hear passersby through the valley remarking about the wonderful ginger smell, which I suppose I've become acclimatized to.

But in the evening a sudden crescendo of perfume pours through the open windows like an almost liquid wave of sweet, spicy, aphrodisiac scent, so heavy you can imagine scooping it into a spoon. Though the flowers are white, at night you'd think they were flaming red, lustful, sweating with passion and musk. It's an aroma both languid and erotic. It pulls your attention away from everything else, even the evening news, and makes you think of tigers and gigantic luminescent butterflies, of caressing bodies and melting butter.

Twenty or thirty minutes later it's gone, and all of a sudden you notice the news is over and your food has gone cold.

Is it any wonder that dreamers prefer October? Especially in Wang Tong.

No comments:

Post a Comment