Sunday, 15 December 2013

Cape Honeysuckle - Gaudete Sunday

"Cape Honeysuckle, Tecomaria capensi", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

As the eyes of the world are turned today towards South Africa, I felt that this was the right time to post a recent drawing of mine of the Cape Honeysuckle.  This brightly coloured plant is found in the very area of South Africa where Nelson Mandela was born and where his body has now been buried.  In fact, I would guess that this was a flowering plant with which Mandela was familiar as he grew to manhood in the Thembu tribal area of the Eastern Cape.  I was able to find the local names for this plant in both Swazi and Xhosa.  The Xhosa name of umsilingi would have been the name by which Nelson Mandela would have known this flower as a child growing up in Thembuland.

Cape honeysuckle is a fast growing, scrambling shrub which may grow up to 2-3 m. high and spread more than 2.5 m. This shrub is widely distributed throughout Southern Africa and is found in the Northern Province, Mpumalanga, Swaziland, KwaZulu-Natal, Cape coast and Mozambique. It is known scientifically as Tecomaria capensi

Tecoma capensi is an evergreen plant in warm climate areas but loses its leaves in colder areas. It has compound leaves that have oval leaflets with blunt teeth. Flowering time for this shrub is very erratic and often it flowers all year round. Flowers vary from red, deep orange, yellow to salmon. Flowers are tubular and bird pollinated, attracting nectar-feeding birds, especially sunbirds. The powdered bark of this attractive plant is used as a traditional medicine to relieve pain and sleeplessness.

The plant belongs to the Bignoniaceae family or the trumpet creeper or catalpa family of the figwort order of flowering plants. There are more than 725 species of trees, shrubs, and, most commonly, vines, chiefly of tropical America, tropical Africa, and the Indo-Malayan region. They form an important part of the earth's tropical forest vegetation because of the numerous climbing vines. 

A few of these are found in temperate regions, notably the catalpa tree (Catalpa), the trumpet creeper (Campsis), and the cross vine (Bignonia).   
"Campsis grandiflora, Trumpet Creeper",
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012
I have drawn several versions of Campsis (trumpet creeper) which I have posted previously.
One of these, posted in August of 2012, is shown at left.

Finally, let me join with so many around the world today and say: "Go well Madiba." May his soul, and the souls of all the departed, rest in peace.



The day takes its common name from the Latin word Gaudete ("Rejoice"), the first word of the introit of this day's Mass: 
Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione petitiones vestræ innotescant apud Deum. Benedixisti Domine terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob. 
This may be translated as: 
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your forbearance be known to all, for the Lord is near at hand; have no anxiety about anything, but in all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. Lord, you have blessed your land; you have turned away the captivity of Jacob. 
— Philippians 4:4–6; Psalm 85 (84):1.

The season of Advent originated as a fast of forty days in preparation for Christmas. In the ninth century, the duration of Advent was reduced to four weeks. Advent preserved most of the characteristics of a penitential season which made it a kind of counterpart to Lent. Thus, Gaudete Sunday is a counterpart to Laetare Sunday (the 4th Sunday of Lent), and provides a similar break about midway through a season which is otherwise of a penitential character. 

The spirit of the Liturgy all through Advent is one of expectation and preparation for the feast of Christmas as well as for the second coming of Christ, and the penitential exercises suitable to that spirit are thus on Gaudete Sunday suspended, as it were, for a while in order to symbolize that joy and gladness to be found in the promised Redemption. 

Advent Wreath -- the rose
candle is lit on Gaudete Sunday,
the 3rd Sunday of Advent

Because Advent is a penitential season, the priest normally wears purple vestments. But on Gaudete Sunday the Church rejoices, and the priest may wear rose-coloured vestments.  For this same reason, the third candle of the Advent wreath, first lit on Gaudete Sunday, is traditionally rose-colored.



Suki just awakening from another nap!
She likes to sleep with her dolly beside her.
Well, what can I say about Suki?  For some reason she has been allowing me to sleep in for the past few days!  I am almost afraid to mention it as I might be tempted to believe that I would  jinx my good luck -- if I believed in luck, that is!

This is not to say that Suki has been well behaved -- quite the contrary.  Let me just give one example.

On Thursday night, as I was preparing for bed, I placed my iPad on the table next to my bed.  I had plugged it in so that it could re-charge overnight.  I had then selected my music app and had some selections from Handel's Messiah ready to play while I was falling asleep.  I left the room for a moment to do some other task related to bedtime -- this was a mistake!

Suddenly, I heard this great clatter and crashing sound coming from the bedroom.  Immediately, I knew that Suki had done something! As I entered the door, the first thing I saw was my iPad face down on the floor.  The next thing I saw was Suki with her paw on the electrical cord that had been attached to the iPad!  She has always had a weakness for electrical cords, but she had been ignoring them for the past few months and so I guess I had gotten somewhat complacent.

I shrieked as I took in this scene.  This noise caused Suki to let go of the cord and make a mad dash under the bed!  I rushed to pick up my iPad, hoping that it had not been broken, all the while shouting terrible threats against poor Suki.  When I realized that the iPad was working just fine still, I began to settle down somewhat -- although I must admit that the peaceful, sleepy mood I had been in previously was now gone!

I plugged the iPad in again only this time I put in on the table in such a way that the cord was no longer hanging down.  I then proceeded to tell Suki (still under the bed) all the terrible things that would happen to her if she tried to play with the electrical cord again.  I dwelt at particular length on the possible effects of electrical shock on a cat's body -- describing in great detail all the various unpleasant things that could occur if her teeth were to pierce the cord while it was plugged in.

Whether it was my words or my screams that affected Suki or something else entirely, I do not know, but she left the cord alone for the remainder of the night and has not touched it since. Whatever it was, I am just grateful that she appears to be avoiding electrical cords again as, in truth, I would of course be devastated if Suki were to give herself a lethal shock.  What a cat!

As for myself, I continue to be much the same as I have been for the past month or so.  I did see the doctor this past week and learned the results of my blood tests -- the things that are too high and those that are too low.  The results appear to suggest that something could be wrong with my adrenal glands, but that is far from certain at this time.  So, I really won't know anything definite until I  have a different, even more lengthy blood test early in the new year.  So, until then, all I can do is pray, patiently wait and try to stay as well as possible.

My very best experience of this past week, however, was the celebration of my birthday on the 14th.  I had a number of guests during the week prior to my birthday and two of them took me out for lunch while one brought me lots of goodies from the bakery at the Market -- others just came to visit and wish me happy birthday! 

On the day itself, I received so many greetings from family and friends that I was really quite overwhelmed.  These came in the form of cards in the mail (and those left at my door), e-cards, emails, greetings on Facebook and telephone calls.  I seemed to stay busy the entire day just talking on the phone, reading all the cards and emails and responding to as many as I could.  It was really quite a wonderful day and I am so grateful to God for the gift of such wonderful people in my life.

So, on that happy note let me end today's posting.  As always I continue to pray that all those who read this blog posting will be blessed and experience in their lives that peace, joy and love which are the gifts of the Spirit. 

Blessings to you one and all. 


Anonymous said...

Black cat hairs all standing up on end seems amusing to me. Poor Suki.

Sallie Thayer said...

Dear Anon:
Poor Suki, indeed!
As I wrote the above words, I heard, at that very moment, a loud meow. That meow was followed by "meow","meow","meow" and "meow"! How did she know I was writing about her? How does she do this? Oh, and guess what, she is ready to eat again! Thankfully, another night passed without Suki getting into mischief -- no electrical shocks!! S.

Anonymous said...

Just think of it as "Suki gave herself a home made perm" when she gets into the electrical cords. I hope you have a real feast for her on Christmas Day. She just might have a new hair do for the occasion .