Sunday, 8 November 2015

Lady's Slipper Orchid

"Cypripedium calceolus -- Lady's Slipper Orchid", drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015

Cypripedium calceolus, commonly known as Lady's Slipper Orchid, is a member of the Family, Orchidaceae. Common names include lady's slipper, slipper orchid, Venus' shoes and whippoorwill shoe. 

At one time it had a widespread distribution in England and almost every country in Europe as well as Russia (including Siberia), China, Mongolia, Korea and Japan. 

Typically found in open woodlands, its population declined over much of the European part of its range due to the shrinking of its habitat caused particularly by human clearance of the woodlands followed by the introduction of sheep. At present, it is a protected species in a number of countries. 

For example, in Great Britain, it was formerly widespread across northern England; however, by the late 20th century it had declined to just a single plant. A reintroduction program for the Lady’s-Slipper Orchid was introduced and led to a population of hundreds of plants by early 2003. 

Cypripedium calceolus in the strict sense does not occur in North America. The closely related Cypripedium parviflorum and C. pubescens are often referred to as subspecies or varieties of C. calceolus. 

Cypripedium is from the Greek for Kypris (Venus) and podilon (sandal, slipper). The species name calceolus derives from the Latin for 'shoe' and, like the English name of this orchid, refers to the slipper-like appearance of the pouch.

I also did a new drawing of a Calla Lily.  As any of my regular readers know, I have a passion for Calla Lilies and keep drawing them in the hopes that one of these days I will actually draw a satisfying image of this beautiful flower.

"Zantedeschia -- Calla Lily", 
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015

You would think that it would be easy to draw as it appears to be such a simple flower; however, its very simplicity makes it almost impossible for me to draw properly. Like the human hand, I always end up over-drawing this flower so that I fail to capture its elegance. Rather, I end up with a very ordinary looking, completely "soul-less" flower.  

I refuse to give up, however.  One of these days I am going to get it just right -- you'll see!

Most of the information about Cypripedium calceolus was taken from various Internet sources.


Recently, Braden and Rònàn attended the Baptism of a family member. Their mother kindly sent me a number of photos taken of "my boys" at the event.  All of them showed Braden and Rònàn with various family members; however, since I wanted to show you how much they have grown but did not want to include the other people, I carefully cropped the boys out of a couple of the photos. Two of the better "croppings" are below:

Braden sitting happily on the altar steps, wondering "what's next?".

A happy-looking Rònàn with a 
stained-glass window in the background



Suki worrying about me

Suki has been left pretty much on her own this past week because I have been too busy trying to do pain management to pay her very much attention.  Like many cats and dogs with whom we share our lives, she seems to somehow be aware of how difficult things are for me right now.  

As a result, she has been less demanding about meal times.  Even when I have put off getting up to feed her -- although it is past time for me to do so -- she has been fairly patient with me.  She seems to understand how much I dread moving from a reclining position to a standing one and she can certainly hear all of my groans and moans when I do finally force myself to move!

Occasionally, Suki will still jump up onto my lap and settle down for a nap. However, she can tell quickly enough when I start getting uncomfortable and then she kindly moves on to one of her favourite chairs where, for a while, she sits and stares at me with a worried look on her face before settling down once again.  

I did manage to visit with a friend on Tuesday and with another friend on Friday; however, the visits only lasted about an hour each and even that was almost more than I could handle.  Joycelyn says that I should just start saying no to all requests from friends who want to stop by, but I really don't want to let myself become even more isolated than I already am.  My friends are all very special to me and I don't want to risk letting any of them drift out of my life. As we get older and more and more infirm, this can happen far too easily. 

I'm not sure why the aches and pains have gotten so much worse this past week -- maybe it had something to do with the unseasonably warm weather we had Monday through Friday.  Now that the temperature is back down where it should be at this time of year, perhaps my pain level will decrease just a bit.  Hope springs eternal...

Otherwise, things have been quiet and I expect this coming week to be a quiet one as well.  The following weeks, however, will see me having to attend all sorts of medical appointments once again. Hopefully, by then, I will be feeling a bit better.



"... many of the rich put in a great deal of money"
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015

In his teaching Jesus said, ‘Beware of the scribes who like to walk about in long robes, to be greeted obsequiously in the market squares, to take the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets; these are the men who swallow the property of widows, while making a show of lengthy prayers. The more severe will be the sentence they receive.’ He sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the treasury, and many of the rich put in a great deal. A poor widow came and put in two small coins, the equivalent of a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, ‘I tell you solemnly, this poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to the treasury; for they have all put in money they had over, but she from the little she had has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.’   Mk. 12:38-44

The comments Christ made about the poor widow have got to be some of the most frightening words ever spoken.  Why?  Because they imply that our goal is a radical trust in, and abandonment to, the Providence of God!

Some of the greatest saints in all religious traditions have been able to achieve such radical trust -- I think immediately of St. Francis of Assisi, for example -- but many of us, myself included, have always kept at least a little something back -- just in case.

Grant me, I pray, the desire to try to be more like the widow -- to be willing to let go of my sense of having control over my life and truly abandon myself to Divine Providence.


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