White at sunrise, pink in the hot afternoon and deep red by sunset this flower which grew in my childhood garden entranced me. A flower that changed colour. It was a kind of magic. And her perfume was unique, not quite jasmine.
I didn’t know her name then and I didn’t need to. She was simply the flower that could change. And in that way she taught me. When I moved to England surrounded by very different flowers I thought them beautiful but I missed her.
Years later I wondered if I had imagined it- whether it was a child’s flight of fancy and I searched for her.
Yes she is real. Rangoon Creeper is her official name but I will always know her as ‘The Flower That Changes Colour’.
She taught me how to change colour when in a different culture, how to adapt to the environment. And from her I know that I can be both Thai and English. Thai at sunrise, English by evening and in between always human. And she will always be my friend.
We all have many different facets to our character and we can embody them all while being linked by a common humanity. This flower is for you – a gift from one human being to another.
“Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world.”
Ralph Waldorf Emerson