Sunday, 28 June 2015

Rhododendron Revisions

"Florida Flame Azalea -- Rhododendron austrinum",  drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer,
Revised 2014

Recently, I have been taking a look at my various Azalea drawings. This is due to the fact that a new correspondent (from Alabama, no less) has been inquiring about them as he is interested in acquiring a couple of them for printing and framing.

Of course, what happens when I go back in my files to search for things, is that I usually find at least two versions of the same flowering plant! This is due to the fact that I simply cannot resist revising my drawings as I learn new techniques for creating them.

"Sweet Azalea -- Rhododendron arborescens", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer,
Revised 2014 

These two were posted so long ago (2008 for one) that I thought it would be a good idea to post and comment on the newer version of each.  So now let me tell you, once again, a little bit about the Florida Flame Azalea followed by information on the Sweet Azalea.

The Florida Wild Azalea (Rhododendron austrinum, family, Ericaceae) is a species of flowering plant known by the common names Florida flame azalea, honeysuckle azalea, Southern yellow azalea, and orange azalea. It is native to the southern United States, where it can be found in Florida (particularly in the Florida Panhandle), Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. The plant is a common garden species because of its showy, fragrant flowers in shades of yellow or cream to nearly red. They attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Rhododendron is from the Greek: rhodon meaning “rose” and dendron meaning “tree”, referring to the flower color of many of the best-known Azaleas; austrinum is Latin for “southern”.

Sweet Azalea (Rhododendron arborescens, Ericaceae Family) is named for its highly fragrant early summer flowers which are white to pale pink with red stamens. It is one of North America's lovely deciduous azaleas, native to parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia to Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia and parts of Alabama. It grows along streams in the mountains and in moist woods. It usually blooms in late summer but can be variable in flowering time, in some places blooming as early as April and, in others, as late as September. As its species name (arborescens from the Latin meaning “tree-like”) suggests, this plant becomes tree-like with age. It can grow up to 18 feet tall but usually tops out at 10 feet. R. arborescens was first discovered by John Bartram, the famous American plant explorer.

Portions of this section were taken from various Internet sources.


Suki day-dreaming of her favourite food!
Poor Suki has been feeling unwell for the past couple of days.  It doesn't appear to be anything serious, but, obviously, I am keeping a close eye on her just in case.

If she was human, I would just think that she has a virus that is affecting her digestive system. Or, there may simply be a problem with the fat content of the wet food she craves so badly four times daily.  

So in the interest of helping her feel better (and preventing me from having to clean the litter box every few hours), I have her on a strict diet of her high-quality dry food and water!

I don't need to tell you what Suki thinks about this arrangement. She may not be feeling well, but she still wants a small serving of that delicious, gravy-covered, wet food every six hours!  My refusal, over the past day and a half to give her anything but dry food and water has caused her to become an almost unbearable pest.  

Every time I get up from my chair for any reason, here comes Suki trying to "shepherd" me into the kitchen.  When I do end up in the kitchen for any reason, I have to carefully watch every step I take as Suki keeps inserting herself next to my feet and butting my legs with her head -- almost as though she is trying to push me towards the pantry where the unopened cans of her wet food are kept.

Although Suki will continue to complain about the current regimen, I'm sure, I intend to stick with it since there have been no stomach distress episodes for the past 12 hours.  I will stay the course since her well being is more important than any discomfort I might experience from Suki playing the part of the pest!

As for me, I continue to continue... in other words, I am doing the same as always.  

The only medical appointment I had this past week was with my family doctor over the telephone.  After our discussion, she contacted the pharmacology people at the hospital to find out which antibiotic was left for me to try. [I have now tried all the usual antibiotics for this type of infection and the infection is still there.  The only other antibiotics my doctor knew about would have required me to be admitted to the hospital as these can only given intravenously.] Fortunately, for me and Suki, the pharmacology folks were able to recommend a new antibiotic which my doctor had my pharmacy deliver to me.  I will let you know what happens.

This week I have an ultrasound scheduled plus one of my dear friends, whom I haven't seen for a couple of months now, is coming for a visit -- a visit I am looking forward to very much. Otherwise, I will just have my regular visits with Joycelyn who takes such good care of me and my weekly visit with my dear friend and neighbour, Sharon.  As always, I will use every event as a means to help me distance myself from the constant pain. I have to balance things carefully, however -- if I overdo it, then I am left with even more pain.  What a silly nuisance these aging bodies of ours can be!

As I am sure you are all aware, July 1st, Wednesday, is Canada Day and Saturday, July 4th, is U.S. Independence Day.  While Suki and I will stay at home and celebrate quietly, I trust that most of you will be celebrating with family and friends.  I wish all of you -- my followers and friends here in Canada as well as my followers, friends and family members in the U.S. -- a safe and happy day! 



"Icon -- Christ the Healer", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, revised 2015

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea. One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” He went off with him, and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him. While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.....”  Mk 5:21ff

Here is a portion of today's rather lengthy Gospel -- all of which is about Christ, The Healer.  In this Gospel, not only are people healed by simply touching Christ's garment, He is also able to bring a young girl back from death.  Amazing stuff that has always left me wondering why Christ demonstrated this power to heal, a power which He appears to have passed along to his disciples, but a power which seems to largely have disappeared from the Church soon afterwards.  Sure, we still continue to hear of miraculous healings -- often attributed to the intercession of one saint or another -- but where is this simple touch that brings instantaneous healing of body, mind and spirit?

I have heard and read many answers to this question, but as I look about the world with its billions of sick and suffering, I just don't feel that anyone has come up with the right answer yet.  As usual, I am thrown right back to my faith in God who is Love and who seems to ask me to trust that, in the end, I will be able to say with Julian of Norwich:  "All is well and all is well and all manner of thing is well."

May we all know the peace which comes from trusting in Love -- Love that will bring us through all the joys and sorrows of this life to that place of perfect peace and unconditional love unending.


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