Monday, 31 December 2012

Moraea -- The Peacock

"Moraea villora", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012
Moraea villosa is a species of peacock moraea, a group of plants named for the large, conspicuous eye-like patterns on the broad outer petals of the flowers, like those found on the feathers of a peacock.

Two subspecies are recognised; M. v. villosa has purple, blue, pink or whitish petals, while the flowers of M. v. elandsmontana are bright orange. The eye-shaped patterns consist of a green to blue or nearly black iridescent crescent, encircling a cream to orange ‘eye’, which is covered with long hairs. This entire shape is usually edged in dark violet, yellow or orange. Each stem bears one to five flowers, and has a solitary, narrow leaf, that is hairy on the underside.

Moraea villosa flowers from August until September.  The delicate flowers open sequentially, with only one flower open at a time. Each flower blooms for only two days, opening in late morning and remaining open until the early afternoon of the following day.

The genus Moraea was first described as Morea in honour of the English botanist Robert More (1703–1780), but Linnaeus later changed the name to Moraea after the surname of his wife, Elisabeth Moraea and father-in-law, Johan Moraeus.  Moraea villosa is named for its hairy stems and leaves (villous meaning hairy or shaggy), the distinguishing feature of this species.

The peacock moraea formerly participated in great abundance in the mass spring flower displays of the South African Cape lowlands. This attractive flower has however lost more than eighty per cent of its habitat to wheat fields and urban expansion, and only a few populations remain in isolated fragments.

"Moraea villora (colours inverted)", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

Here is the same drawing after the inversion of its colours.  As is often the case, I cannot decide which version I prefer! 

The original and the inverted copies are part of my contribution to the web site on Inversionism (see below).



You may recall my telling you about an invitation I received back in August or September to participate in a web site on the art movement of Inversionism.  As it says on their home page,
"The quintessence of Inversionism is taking the potential of any characteristic of an image to its limits to the point when it is flipped upside down beyond the event horizon of things.... Inversionism is a way to cope with the monotonous totality of both abstract art and realism and its forms. It is thus a radical escape from these modes of art; it is radical because it strives to retain the 'realistic' framework of an image while turning upside down some of its characteristics, a twist towards abstraction."
I am now listed among their participants with my particular approach toward Inversionism.  Take a look.  Their address is



Here are some photos of Braden taken Christmas morning, 2012 -- 6 months old and his very first Christmas!

Braden looks a bit overwhelmed by all these gifts!

Now he is starting to loosen up and get into the spirit of things!

[I love this photo]  He looks a bit overwhelmed still but his expression seems to me to show a happy innocence that belongs to
the very young and the very young at heart.

Finally, this sweet boy, feeling a bit tired perhaps, has settled down with his favourite gift of the moment:  Christmas ribbon!

My "Coming Home" Story

NOTE: Some portions of this story have been changed or combined or even partly fabricated in an effort to tell the story in a way that makes sense, provides anonymity for certain people and, particularly, to refrain from attempting to explain those events in the spiritual life which are simply unexplainable

Headed towards Convocation Hall on the
day I graduated from university!  I am one
happy lady!!
 Why would spending time in prayer before a metal box and a burning candle bring me back to repentance and acceptance? What is really going on here?

It happens because of what I believe that "metal box" contains. Reposing within that golden container are pieces of consecrated bread -- simple, unleavened bread – now radically changed.

An ordained Catholic priest, a priest who can trace his lineage all the way back to the first apostles, has said the words of consecration, the words given to us by Jesus, over this bread and changed it from simple bread to the very Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Perhaps this bread was consecrated at the morning Mass, a few hours earlier, and was "left over" after all the people at the Mass had received Holy Communion. This precious, priceless bread, bread now in appearance only, is locked into a golden box while the candle in the red glass holder continues to burn brightly. It is available to take to the sick and the dying. "Give us this day, our daily bread" is a petition that can be only fully answered by this new “manna”.

By 1976, I was taking a break from teaching. Instead, I was employed by an Anglican organization working with “street people” in Hamilton, Ontario. Upon moving to Hamilton, I had discovered the “charismatic renewal” and was now actively participating in a large Catholic Charismatic prayer group each week as a member of the music ministry.

Although I was attending a high-church Anglican service every Sunday with some wonderful, faith-filled Anglicans, I had started sneaking into a Catholic Church each afternoon on my way home from work (I use the word “sneaking” because I was very careful to try to make certain that none of my friends saw me entering or leaving the church!). During this time, I finally began to realize that I was reaching a point of no return. Deep down I knew it was time – I had to keep my promise I had made to God in Birmingham 15 years earlier.

Finally, the tension became too much. I knew I had to take action and I knew I needed to act quickly. So, choosing a day later that week I did what I felt was necessary:

  • I gave notice at work,
  • Called a Catholic priest with whom I was good friends and set up an appointment for the next day and
  • Begin to cautiously announce to family and friends that I was going to become a Roman Catholic.

By the end of that day I had burned all my bridges so that I really felt I had no way back. This seemed the better way as by now I knew how easily I could lose courage and fearfully turn back.  Even so, I couldn't stop myself from thinking that night "what have I done, dear Lord, what have I done?"

(to be continued)


Do you think Suki is trying to tell me something?
Maybe like I should turn up the thermostat?
Suki is feeling very cold these days -- poor kitty cat.
She has been telling me about this for the past several days now and seems to be quite disturbed that I don't seem to be doing anything about it!

She no longer wants to sleep in her "crow's nest" bed because it is too close to the window.  However, if I move her condo away from the window, she complains because now she cannot get from her bed to the window sill to watch the pigeons!

The worst part of all this is that she seems to feel that my big easy chair is the best place to sleep during this cold weather!  Thus, almost every time I go to sit in my comfortable chair, there is a big black, furry ball occupying it.  Have you ever tried to move a 13.5 lb. cat who is sleepy and does not want to be moved?  It is like trying to pick up molasses with your bare hands!

I did try turning up the thermostat, but then I got too warm while Suki seemed very content.  So, either she has got to get used to wearing a jacket or I have got to get used to having 13.5 lbs. of cat sleeping on me whenever I want to sit in my chair.  Having a cat on your lap sounds all cozy and warm, but let me tell you -- that much "dead" weight gets awfully heavy after about 30 minutes and then there is the ordeal I must go through each time I need to get up for something!  Ah, the saga continues....

Now, as for me, I continue to do about the same -- with one exception -- I have suddenly developed a deep cough in my lungs -- I rattle now whenever I breathe deeply.  I am not uncomfortable, yet, but I have a feeling that there may be a lot of coughing in my near future!  Fortunately, Suki is not like my former cat, miz k.d.  As you may recall, she would run and hide whenever she heard me clearing my throat.  When I actually coughed, she would disappear for about an hour before coming out of hiding!

Well, dear friends, the New Year is almost here.  Tonight at midnight we change over to 2013.  I plan to change all my calendars today.  Not only do I have the calendars I made as gifts and for people to buy, I also have my traditional calendars -- like the Polish calendar I always like to receive from my friend, Grazyna.  As well, there is the photo calendar from my nephew and his family which includes photos of my sister and her husband, their children and grandchildren.  I will reflect on the year passed and the year to come.

For those of us who are Catholic, New Year's Day is also the Feast of Mary, Mother of God.  What a wonderful way to begin the New Year.   May Our Blessed Mother watch over us all and keep us close to her Son all the days of the coming year.

Dona nobis pacem.  Peace.

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