Most years Chiang Mai has refreshing rains just before the onset of the hot dry season (the flowering season). Last night we received 6 mmm of rain, which is the first precipitation in nearly two months (we got 3 mm on December 2nd). The rain coincided with mango blossom which sometimes make the Thai farmer curse the sky; rain on early mango blossom may spoil the crop. However, by growing many cultivars with different flowering seasons he is protected, and I think this time Dokmai Garden‘s ‘Kiao savoy’ strain was almost done. The dessert mangoes (‘Choganan’) bloom later.
The rain cleans the air from dust and fire smoke, the clouds keep the heat (a lovely 20°C this morning at 7 a.m.) and the humidity boosts the epiphytic orchids. Although insects rejoice, this small amount of rain is hardly noticed by the dormant giants such as teaks and propeller trees (Dipterocarpus tuberculatus).
The birds are particularly active due to a sudden abundance of prey and decent temperatures; I can hear a fantastic chorus right now.
A dead scolopender (giant centipede) was lying outside the kitchen in the morning. The back had been broken, I think thanks to our guard of tockay geckos. I let it be until my son wakes up, so I can show it to him. At age five he is perceptive and amazingly helpful, eager to work with me and grandpa in the garden, rapidly developing knowledge about four languages (Central Thai, Swedish, English and Esan), still struggling with the other two (Northern Thai and Karen). Knowing the dangers of a tropical garden is important, although nothing compared to the carnage in Thai traffic. I walk alone at night in the garden without a torch, but I should never do that on a Thai road, not even bike in daytime.
Text & Photo: Eric Danell