Sunday, 17 August 2014

Meriania nobilis

"Meriania nobilis", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014

Meriania nobilis is considered to be one of the most beautiful flowering trees in the world! For almost the entire year, this tree, native to Colombia, is covered with big bouquets of luxurious blooms in various shades of purple and red. 

Meriania nobilis tree

Meriania nobilis, a member of the Melastomataceae family, typically grows to a height of around 20 feet. It is found in the cloud forests of Columbia, at between 1900 and 2900 meters, where humidity is high and temperatures are cool to mild all year and frost is almost non-existent. 

Columbian Cloud Forests
The genus name of Meriania is taken from Maria Merian, an entomologist and botanist who lived during the 17th century. The species name, nobilis, comes from the Latin "noble" and refers to the "nobility" of the lovely flowers found growing on these trees. 

Even without flowers, these are beautiful trees with large, satiny leaves showing distinctive veins. When you add the blossoms, of course, you have something quite spectacular. The approximately 3 inch blossoms are red when they first open, then progress through shades of purple and violet. These vivid petals are accented by unusual stamens (the pollen producing part of a flower) with purple and white filaments. At the top of the filaments are anthers (the part of the stamen where pollen is produced) highlighted in yellow.

To be honest, it was the reproductive parts of this flower that caused me to decide to do a drawing of Meriania nobilis in the first place.  
Closeup of Meriania nobilis stamens, etc.
The colourful stamens combined with the vivid colours of the flower petals of red, violet and purple were all just too irresistible.  As you all know, the more colours, the better I like it and the more vivid those colours, the best I like it!

The leaves were also very appealing -- so green and shiny, but, alas, I really can't show a shiny finish on leaves or flowers with the computer software I use.  I keep hoping that one of these days I will discover a way to give a satiny finish when the leaves or flower petals require it.  Meanwhile, I do the best I can and just enjoy the many colours I can create on the computer.



Suki sitting and thinking about what
mischief she can get into next!
Suki never ceases to surprise me!
Last night something occurred that I never would have imagined possible -- Suki did what I told her to do!

Let me tell you what happened...

I was awakened about 5 a.m. by Suki making some kind of strange noise (I think she was pulling her claws over the lattice work under one of my tables).  At any rate, whatever she was doing, it was noisy enough to rouse me from sleep.

Normally, I would have gotten up to investigate what Suki was doing and after yelling at her, I would have tried to prevent further noise by putting pillows over the area, moving things or whatever. However, this time, I simply stayed in bed and yelled, loudly, "Stop it, Suki!"  

Amazingly, the noise ceased.  So I continued yelling, loudly, "No! No! No!  I am not going to get up now and feed you.  Just STOP making that noise right now!"  With this, I turned over and quickly fell asleep again.

The next time I was awakened by Suki's noise making, I knew that some time had passed, but I was shocked when I glanced at the clock and saw that it was now 6:30 a.m. -- the perfect time for me to be getting up.

I have no idea what happened here.  Did Suki really understand that I was determined to stay in bed and give up trying to awaken me again for an hour and a half?  Did she go back to her original noise making but somehow this time I slept through it?  Or, does Suki really understand words like "stop" and "no"?

I know that dogs can easily be trained to understand the sounds and tones of words of command, but I never thought it was possible for cats to do so.  Not that cats are so unintelligent that they cannot understand, but, rather, they simply do not believe in obeying any commands except their own!  

I do realize that cats can be trained by expert trainers to obey commands, but this usually involves a combination of great patience and many treats.  For example, those cats who appear in movies doing things on cue. But the idea that Suki might suddenly begin to obey me just because I have yelled "stop it" or "no" to her so many times over the years seems almost unbelievable!

I will try to get Suki to repeat this behaviour next time she awakens me at some inappropriate time and I will let you know what happens.  Personally, I think it was just a fluke; however, time will tell!

Otherwise, life goes on in its usual mundane fashion for the two of us.  I had one appointment this week but it was not a medical one so there is nothing new to report regarding my health (or lack thereof!).  

I did have a visitor this week.  A very dear friend of mine, who moved from Toronto to Virginia some years ago now, is presently here visiting family and friends.  We had a wonderful visit in spite of my pain and discomfort.  She is such a special friend and it was wonderful to see her again after almost a year.

"Our Lady, Hope of

As well, I received two requests for permission to use 2 different "icons".  One gentleman wrote to ask for a print of Our Lady, Hope of Africa to use in relation to a child he and his family are
sponsoring from Africa.

"Nunavut Madonna"
The other request came from a gentleman with the Salvation Army who wants to use the "Nunavut Madonna" as part of a Power Point presentation he is doing.

Hearing from people who think my art work is worthy of use does please me since my art is and has always been, for me, more of a way of moving beyond physical and emotional pain and, in my mind, has little to do with what I consider to be the work of serious artists.



"Jesus Healing the Canaanite Woman's Daughter"
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

At that time, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her. Jesus’ disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.” He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, “Lord, help me.” He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour.  Mt 15: 21-28

When I was young, this seemed like such a strange story to me. Here is the always kind and compassionate Jesus suddenly saying such harsh things to a poor woman whose only child is severely mentally disturbed.  Not only that, He makes it sound as though she deserves such harsh treatment because she is not Jewish, but a lowly Canaanite!

Of course, Jesus knew exactly the depth of this woman's faith and just how much He needed to push her in order for her to realize the need for even deeper faith.  What she was asking for was so important that it could not be given easily. Their faith would have to persevere in this "pagan" land where faith in the Jewish Messiah would not be easily tolerated.  Once Jesus sees that she understands how harsh the struggle to hold onto this faith will be, she hears those precious words: "O woman, great is your faith!  Let it be done for you as you wish."

Long ago, I came to the realization that this encounter was recorded, in all its harshness, in order that those of us who belong to the community of faith will be aided in the realization of how blessed we are to able to receive the healing presence of Christ daily or weekly at Mass.  There is no need for pleading or groveling -- just the need for our ongoing perseverance in holding onto our faith in good times and bad. Like hungry, trusting children, all we have to do is approach the altar, open our mouths and feed on the Bread of Life.

Peace be with you all.

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