Sunday, 19 April 2015

Vireya -- Rhododendron

"Vireya -- Rhododendron Blossoms with Spanish Moss",  drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015

To be honest, I have no idea exactly which species of Vireya I have drawn.  There are so many of them as well as so many cultivars that I found it absolutely impossible to say "yes, this is Rhododendron dianthosmum," for example  So let's just call it Vireya.

The first published description of what is now known as “Vireya” appeared in 1822 based on material collected by the author, William Jack, while he was in Sumatra, working for the East India Company. In 1826 a further five species of similar plants were described by Carl Blume, the director of a botanical garden in Indonesia. For these plants, he proposed a new genus to be called Vireya in honour of his friend Julian Joseph Virey. The rank of genus was rejected by Blume's peers; however, the name has continued to be used for this sub-genus (section) of the genus Rhododendron.

About a third of all rhododendron species are tropical Vireya rhododendrons. While Vireyas, like azaleas (also part of the rhododendron grouping), do not look like rhododendrons they obviously have characteristics that make them definite members of the rhododendron (Ericaceae) family. 

They are usually called Vireyas not rhododendrons; however, when you search for them on the Internet, you always end up getting results with the word “rhododendron” attached! As well, Vireyas do not grow where other rhododendrons grow. They are more likely to be growing in the same sort of area where orchids might grow. Thus, they are found in tropical areas where there is no frost.

As well, they are often epiphytes (growing on other plants in the rain forest with their roots growing on the bark but not parasitically). Some even grow as lithophytes, meaning they grow on rock surfaces. Usually the rock or bark on which the Vireya is growing is mossy and the moss seems to provide the correct environment for the roots. 

Most Vireya are native to the tropical and subtropical regions of the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Java, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea. Almost half of the 319 Vireya rhododendron species grow in Papua New Guinea, just south of the equator.

As usual, I enjoyed drawing the flowers; however, I must admit that I enjoyed trying to draw Spanish Moss even more!  Spanish Moss always reminds me of the deep South where I grew up and, particularly, it reminds me of my sister, Betty, who died in early March six years ago. Her home, in north-central Florida, was surrounded by huge live oak trees filled with Spanish moss. Requiescant in pace, dear sister. 

Portions of the above information were taken from various Internet sources.



Suki -- She Who Must Be Obeyed!

Suki has been relatively well behaved this past week.  Of course, I have been very conscientious -- 
  - making certain that she is fed on time, 
  - making certain that her sandbox is always fresh and clean, 
  - making certain that my lap is available whenever she decides she wants to sleep there.

The only real problem area is the ongoing battle between Suki and myself regarding the time I am willing to get out of bed in the morning.  I have made it very clear to this crazy cat that I am perfectly willing to let her awaken me any time after 5:30 a.m.; however, Suki continues to try for somewhere closer to 5 a.m. So, this battle of wills continues with me stubbornly staying in bed, even if I am already wide awake, until the clock reads 5:30! 

"She (Suki) who must be obeyed" is not pleased about this -- but, then, neither am I.  So, my friends, expect this battle to continue.

As for other activities, I did have a long chat with the specialist at the pain management clinic this past Monday.  During the course of our conversation, it became obvious to the doctor that my pain is no longer being "managed". So he decided that I need to repeat all the x-rays, CT scan and MRI that were done of my spine (cervical and lumbar) and head in early 2011 so he can clearly see how much worse things may have gotten and adjust my treatment accordingly. 

"Chippy", a photograph taken by G.W.
(Copyright 2015, used with permission) 

Once again, I am including another excellent nature photo taken by my dear friend, Grazyna. 

The picture of the friendly chipmunk was taken using her iPad. 

I really like the composition of chipmunk and shadow.  The colours and lighting say to me: "spring is here at last."



"Icon -- Emmaus and Revelation", by the hand
of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, rev. 2015

The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way, and how Jesus was made known to them in the breaking of bread. While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.  Gospel portion Luke 24:35-40

Even though today's Gospel is really about the appearance of the risen Christ to the disciples gathered in the upper room, I decided to use the icon of the revelation which occurred at Emmaus -- referred to at the beginning of the Gospel.

I have always been intrigued by that story which depicts a moment of revelation that changes how those two disciples would see everything for the rest of their lives.  Hopefully, we have all had moments like that -- moments where we suddenly see what before had been hidden -- that moment of understanding and insight which can come after hours, days, weeks of puzzling and questioning.  A light shines and something new is revealed -- suddenly, all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place -- and in that moment of revelation people are frequently heard to say something along the lines of: "how could I have been so stupid not to have understood this before now?"

Lord, open our eyes that we may see.


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