Then & Now : Chinese Lanterns

August 26, 2008 (left) / January 16, 2009 (right)

We have a strip of these plants dividing our property with the neighbor. They’re fine enough most of summer, but as the season wraps up they burst into a striking orange.

Inside the papery husk is a tiny fruit that looks like a miniature tomato. I call them Chinese Lanterns, but they’re also known as a Groundcherry. [ more info ]

My mom was able to transplant a few successfully to her garden.

In other news: I heard Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech on the radio yesterday. Having arrived early at my destination, I sat in my car and devoted all my attention to his words.

This passage resonated in particular: “We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.

I’m not sure how it all fits together, and for certain MLK had a very specific goal of civil rights that day, but the words still bear meaning and I’m very hopeful for Now.


  1. Part of the message behind that line can be found in MLK’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail”. He was arrested on April 12th (the same year as the Dream Speech) for parading without a permit. As he sat in jail a group of religious men – both black and white, penned an article for the local paper saying that King’s cause was noble, but that they thought he was asking for too much too fast. They said that changes needed to come “gradually”. King’s letter in response to them attacked their notion of gradual by pointing out that the struggle had been going on for centuries and the time was now.
    Good stuff. I’ve shed many tears in celebration of these recent events.

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