Tajy– Technically means ‘daughter’, but is the Guaraní name of the Lapacho, Paraguay’s national tree. Poty- flower.
Lapacho flowers are everywhere.
Oga Ita, Alto Verá, Paraguay
As I walk downhill towards the other side of town, I can see it standing tall overlooking fields and forests and houses. Its bright hues of pink are extremely noticeable and almost indescribable. You can’t miss it. Nor can you miss seeing any other Lapacho for that matter. They’re stunning, rising high above the landscape, bursting into intense pink blossoms, dotting the dry countryside with color. You can stand on the highest part of my little valley and look all around you, lapachos visibly transforming Alto Verá from a bleak dry winter into a lush spring. In Asuncion, the transformation is even more dramatic, as the city seems to be practically built around lapachos. From above, it is a sea of pink, swarming around the buildings, overtaking the urban jungle right up to the edge of the Río Paraguay. From below, the sea of pink is just as noticeable, not only from the eternal canopy of cotton candy and bubblegum, but also the ocean of blossoms under your feet, covering the ground, parked cars, benches in the plaza. Occasionally, you can see a Tajy Sayju, the yellow Lapacho, its little brass trumpet blossoms exploding into as much fervor as its pink sister. Or as you peer out of the bus window along Avenida Mariscal Lopez, you can look up into the branches of the Tajy Moriti, its white blossoms the product of a genetic mutation, yet considerably beautiful still. Paraguay in August is bombarded with color. The Mby’a indigenous people say that when the lapachos bloom, spring has arrived. Already, after I saw that very first Lapacho bloom here in Oga Ita, just over the rise, the weather has warmed and the other trees have followed suit, a strong scent of orange blossoms in the air and my nasturtiums blooming into color in my garden. It’s warm again. Paraguay is full of life. Full of color. Full of fun and energy. It seemed to know that this was what I needed.
Jajotopata ro’y arã. Ndarohechaga’umo’ai. Tereguahê porãiterei poty arã.