Our friends who rent the lower house, [along with the barn and pasture for their goats] have an interesting collection of plants summering on their front porch.
On Friday I was alerted that a Night-blooming Cereus was in bud and might open as darkness arrived.
The bud remained closed--but I had a pleasant evening sitting in the dusk, hearing the hoot of a distant owl and the rusty chirping of crickets.
Saturday afternoon brought early nightfall after fierce intermittent rain.
I contemplated pulling on my boots and crunching down the lane to check on the plant, although I knew my friends would be out early in the evening.
I had about decided I didn't want to brave the drizzle when B. phoned to report they had returned home and found the cereus opening her petals.
I collected jacket, camera and flashlight, made my way down the lane and across the wet grass of the front lawn.
F. was setting up a floor lamp with a heavy extension cord running from a plug inside the front door.
I had been anticipating something lovely--the beauty of the opening flower in the pool of lamplight was astonishing.
B. and I settled on the porch swing, facing the plant which was now enthroned on a rustic bench.
Small moths blundered against the light bulb releasing tiny clouds of 'fur' from their wings.
Deep-toned wind chimes responded to the breeze with a gentle melody.
Rain dripped from the porch roof, plonking onto an overturned bucket which lay in the grass below the steps.
Several of the barn kittens visited, swiping at low-flying moths, pouncing on errant crickets.
Almost we could discern the expanding of the petals--or so we imagined.
The throat of the flower widened, pushing the delicate star-shaped pistol and the pale yellow stamens into better view.
The blossom has an exotic fragrance--sweet, but not cloying--elusive rather than heavy.
It was nearly 11 P.M. when we realized that we must abandon the blossom and call it a day.
I walked up the lane, a train of barn cats escorting me.
Rain dripped from the trees beyond the brook; there was a scent of autumn in the damp night air--a scent of earth and of the fallen leaves blown onto the floor of the porch.
I went to bed full of wonder at the beauty of the rare flower we had enjoyed.
Lovely in itself and the more to be treasured for the unpredictability of its blooming.