Sunday, 22 March 2015

Couroupita guianensis - Cannonball Tree

"Couroupita guianensis - Cannonball Tree", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015

Back on February 8, 2010, I did a posting about the Cannonball Tree. It contained a drawing of the flower and buds of this Tree -- a drawing which was done well before I had learned a number of the techniques I now use in my art work. If you wish, you can take a look at the drawing and see just how amateurish it is – especially when compared with the drawing in today’s posting.

In actuality, that drawing no longer exists as it has disappeared from my art files, both back-up and current. I assume it was lost in the computer crash I experienced in 2011. So, since I could not even try to revise it, I decided to do a new drawing of the flowering part of this strange tree.  As well, I am repeating a bit of the information contained that that 2010 blog posting that might be of interest. 

The tree gets its name from the large, spherical fruit it produces. These fruit fall from the tree and crack open when they hit the ground, often causing a sound like a small explosion. So, "like coconut palms, the trees should not be planted near paths or near traffic-filled areas, as the heavy fruit is known to fall without notice." The fruit emits an unpleasant aroma when exposed to the air. 
Section of Couroupita guianensis tree.
Just look at the size of those "cannonballs"
You certainly wouldn't want one of
them falling on your head!  Ouch!

The strange looking flowers are found on thick, tangled extrusions that grow on the trunk of the tree, just below the foliage branches. These extrusions can range from two to six feet in length. The flowers are attached to an upwardly bent, white, fleshy disk. The flowers have a number of petals which are large, orange-red and strongly perfumed. I suppose this helps to cover up the bad smell of the ripe fruit! 

The Cannonball Tree, proper name, Couroupita guianensis (Family, Lecythidaceae), is commonly found in the area of the Amazon Basin. It is native to Guiana in South America. It is also found in India where it is grown extensively in Shiva temples. 

The various parts of this tree possesses antibiotic, anti-fungal, antiseptic and analgesic qualities. Local medicines are made from the tree for the treatment of colds and stomach aches. The juice from the leaves is used to cure skin diseases. The inside of the stinky fruit can disinfect wounds and young leaves ease toothache. Personally, I would rather have some non-stinky pills from my local pharmacist!

Some of the above information was taken from Wikipedia.  _____________________________________________________ 





Suki sitting and staring at me!
Do you know what it is like to be stared at by a cat -- I mean really stared at?

Suki is wickedly great at staring. I mean, she can keep it up for longer than you can imagine -- sometimes until it becomes unbearable. Why does she stare at me? Normally, her staring has to do with her desire to be fed!

Suki knows that I will give her a small portion of her favourite food four times a day. These times, as I have mentioned previously, are 6 a.m., 12 noon, 6 p.m. and somewhere between 11 - 12 p.m. And, even though she knows that I am very strict about keeping to that schedule, she still starts her "feed me now" campaign 30 to 40 minutes before the designated time.  This is how she proceeds....

At first, she finds me (if she is not already sitting in my lap) and tries purring and rubbing her face against my leg or arm or whatever body part is most available.  When my only response to this is a definite "no", she moves on to meowing. These meows sound so pitiful that if someone from the Humane Society was listening, they would probably charge me with animal abuse. 
When my only response to the "meows" is a louder and even more definite "no", Suki moves on to staring.

By this time, it is still 20 to 30 minutes before feeding time, and Suki manages to find some place to sit where she can easily see me and I can easily see her and the staring begins.  From this point on, Suki seldom blinks and her gaze is intense and unwavering. Minute by minute she sits and stares while I try to continue with whatever it is I am doing. As the time slowly passes, however, it becomes more and more difficult for me refrain from looking up and staring back.

Just think about this for a minute...  before the 6 a.m. feeding, I may be awakened by Suki's noise-making efforts, but after yelling at her, I am usually able to go right back to sleep.  Then she may awaken me again by sitting by the side of the bed and plaintively meowing, but once again, after an even louder yell, I usually return to sleep quickly.  However, when I am finally awakened by pressure on my chest and open my eyes to see Suki sitting on my chest and staring at me, I usually find it impossible not to stay awake and stare back. 

So often, morning, noon and night, I find myself giving in -- the staring become unbearable -- and I end up feeding Suki 10 minutes early. When I give in, you can see how proud she looks as she walks slowly, tail fully erect, into the kitchen. Sometimes, however, I am able to hold out and make her wait until the exact moment designated as her feeding time. When this happens, I feel very proud of myself  -- as though I have won some kind of battle.

You might ask why I put myself through such discomfort in order to keep to this rigid schedule.  I do it because I really care about Suki. I know how easy it would be to fall into the practice of feeding her whenever she feels hungry; however, I also know how fat she would get and how unhealthy that would make her.  Not only would that extra weight make her arthritis worse, but it might also damage her heart and kidneys.

So, let the staring contests continue.  I am more determined than ever to discipline myself to out-stare Suki.  I will be victorious (at least some of the time)!

Otherwise, I continue with the same problems as usual.  Some symptoms seem to be getting a bit worse, but that is to be expected. I would ask you to continue to send healing thoughts and prayers out on behalf of the person I referred to in last Sunday's posting. Thanks.



"Icon -- When I am Lifted Up...", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, rev. 2015

“I am troubled now. Yet what should I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it and will glorify it again.” The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder; but others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come for my sake but for yours. Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” He said this indicating the kind of death he would die.  JN 12:27-33

"When I am lifted up, I will draw everyone to Myself".  What a powerful statement made just a moment after saying: "I am troubled ... Should I say 'Father, save me from this hour'?.. But it is for this purpose that I have come to this hour." I read this and try to imagine how I would feel, what I would say, if I knew that within a few days or weeks I would be dead.  How "troubled" would I be?

I like to think that I would be able to face the prospect of my death with calm faith; however, what I imagine I would do and what I end up actually doing have often proven to be quite different.  I tell myself that I do not fear dying and I really believe that to be true.  I do acknowledge that I would be quite anxious about such news as is natural to our human nature when facing the unknown, but I think that anxiety is somehow different from fear. Only time will tell, as I come face to face with the reality of my own death, what I actually believe and how well that belief translates into behaviour.

As we get ever nearer to the memorial of that terribly bad day we call good -- Good Friday -- let us ask for the hope and faith we need so that we may continue to hope that: 
whether we are raised to the heights or thrown down to the depths, whether our lives are filled with sorrow or joy, 
whether we live or 
whether we die -- 
Love will prevail.


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