The lotus flower is beautiful, iconic, beloved. I live near several lakes where lotus grows, and seeing the different stages through the year is a privilege and a joy for me.

The bud sitting on a tall stalk is a promise of rich colors. Soon the yellow center will present itself. Insects, birds, and other wildlife feed on the plant, and when a whole lake of lotus is in bloom, it’s a feast for the eyes.

Once the petals fall off, the seeds begin to appear. Eventually, they turn completely brown and fall into the lake, completing the circle.

The leaves of the lotus are also interesting. When they are small, they often roll up until they are ready to unfurl.

I love seeing the veining that will be visible in some form or other until the leaf is ready to decompose.

Once the leaf has opened up it becomes a platform for a variety of animals. Birds in particular use it to get closer to prey.

Here a juvenile Little Blue Heron used lotus leaves to hunt for food. The leaves aren’t very stable, but with practice, even sizeable birds like the Little Blue Heron can use them to navigate the lake without using their wings.

As the leaf ages, the veining becomes more visible and beautiful patterns can appear. I haven’t seen this very often, but it is something to behold.

Eventually the leaves contract again and form a sort of vessel.

And, last but not least, Mother Nature sometimes uses the leaves as a very special canvas:

How lucky to have been able to see it!

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