Sunday, 22 May 2016


"Narcissus poeticus -- Flower of the Gods", drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

Narcissus poeticus is extremely fragrant with a ring of petals in pure white and a short corona of light yellow with a distinct reddish edge, N. poeticus is widely naturalized in North America and Europe. Narcissus is mostly native to the Mediterranean region, but a few species are found in the area stretching from central Asia to China. N. poeticus, now long cultivated in Europe, was, according to one legend, brought back to England from the crusades. It was introduced to North America in the late 18th century. 

The earliest mention of Narcissus poeticus is probably in the botanical writings of Theophrastus (371 – c. 287 BCE), who wrote about a spring-blooming narcissus. In one version of the myth about the handsome Greek hunter, Narcissus, he was punished by the Goddess of vengeance, Nemesis, who turned him into a Narcissus flower that historians associate with Narcissus poeticus

According to some experts, the fragrant Narcissus poeticus was the flower that Persephone and her companions were gathering when Hades abducted her into the Underworld. This myth accounts for the custom, which has lasted into modern times, of decorating graves with these flowers. Linnaeus, who gave the flower its name, quite possibly did so because he believed it was the one that inspired the tale of Narcissus. [Narcissus, known for his beauty, was extremely proud, disdaining those who loved him.  The god, Nemesis, (the spirit of divine retribution) noticing his behaviour, drew Narcissus to a clear pool of water.  Gazing upon his reflection, Narcissus fell in love not realizing that it was only a image of himself. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus lost his will to live. He stared at his reflection until he died. Narcissus is the origin of the term, narcissism, meaning a fixation with oneself and one's physical appearance -- a self love that makes one incapable of really loving others.]

While all Narcissus are poisonous when eaten, Narcissus poeticus is more dangerous than others, acting as a strong emetic and irritant. The scent is powerful enough that it can cause headache and vomiting if a large quantity is kept in a closed room.  In my opinion, this beautiful flower is better appreciated in the garden rather than in a vase!

This is not the first time (nor will it be the last, I'm sure) I have tried drawing Narcissus poeticus. Below are two previous drawings of this ancient flower from earlier blog postings.

"Narcissus poeticus recurvus"
drawing by 
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2010
"Narcissus poeticus -- Pheasant's Eye"
drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009

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


The boys have been busy lately.  Here are some recent candid shots of the two of them -- apart and together.

Rònàn carefully studying his surroundings --

Brothers - 1

Brothers - 2

Braden carefully studying his surroundings --



In last Sunday's posting, I wrote:     
Suki in one of her few wakeful
moments these days.
"As soon as she saw me, she tried to stand up but could only manage it by leaning against fridge so that she did not have to put any weight on her back left leg. She tried to walk towards me, but could only hobble for a few steps before she had to lie down again. I quickly measured out a dose of her pain medication in the syringe and gave it to her. Then I fixed her food so that it would be very easy to eat while she was lying down. And that is exactly what Suki did -- she ate her entire breakfast without ever standing up. Once she had finished, I carefully picked her up and transported her to her favourite chair in which she is now sleeping -- a sleep that hopefully will continue for at least the next five hours. Then it will only be another hour before I can give her more of the pain medication. Poor kitty... this definitely means a trip to the vet -- hopefully tomorrow!"

We made it to the vet on Thursday and here is what she had to say:  
"Following blood work and x-rays, it was determined that Suki has a cruciate ligament rupture in her left knee along with osteo- arthritis.  She continues to show signs of osteoarthritis and cruciate ligament weakness in her right knee.  She exhibits pain in both knees, but the pain in the left knee is quite severe -- so much so that without pain medication, Suki would probably be unable to walk at all. So, for the foreseeable future, Suki needs to be given regular doses of pain medication and anti-inflammatory medication. As well, she needs to lose a few pounds so that there is less weight for her back legs to carry." (Suki and I both looked at one another when the vet said "lose a few pounds" and just rolled our eyes.)
So far, Suki seems to be managing OK with all of this -- so long as I make certain to give her these good pain meds at the proper times and pick her up whenever she wants to get into one of her favourite chairs.

I, on the other hand -- now faced as I am by the loss of my cat alarm clock plus all my new nursing duties -- am still trying to make all the adjustments required for this new living situation. In other words, Suki is managing OK but I'm a mess!

Hopefully, things will settle down before long as a new routine becomes the established norm.  In the meantime, I have purchased a real alarm clock and have placed small posters throughout the apartment to remind me of the various times of day when Suki needs to be given medication.

I have also been busy with my own health care as I had two medical appointments and some lab work this past week.  This coming week I have four medical appointments! I will be so glad when this six-month check-up time period is over.

Meanwhile, my biggest worry is Suki.  It really is heartbreaking to watch a cat who was once so beautifully agile, now struggle painfully in an effort to jump from the floor onto a low stool. However, so long as Suki is willing to keep struggling, I am willing to keep helping her. We're in this together until the bitter end.



"Icon -- The Holy Trinity or The Hospitality of Abraham and Sarah",
by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016 revision

[The Church Fathers saw in the story of the three "angels" appearing to Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 18:2ff) the foretelling of the doctrine of the Trinity -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit -- Three in One and One in Three.  As I have mentioned in previous blog postings, one of the world's best-known icons, Rublev's "The Trinity", is based on this passage (see image below).]

"The Holy Trinity" by the hand of
St. Andrei Rublev

Jesus said to his disciples: "I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you."  Jn 16:12-15


Deb said...

I'm sorry to hear that Suki is having such a bad time. Living with aging cats myself, I can sympathize. You're in my thoughts.

Sallie Thayer said...

Thank you so much. Sadly, Suki is only 7 years old. The vet thinks she possibly suffered a severe injury when she was a kitten -- she was a stray who ended up at the Humane Society -- and the injury was never treated so that over time the rupture just got worse. I was speaking with the vet yesterday and she said that it is really a degenerative process now. Always good to hear from you.