They say that long ago a group of hunters were running through the forest, deep into depths where they had never ventured before. It was a sacred place, and though they knew to never hunt there, they had gotten turned about and were not quite sure where they ran. A glitter of light cut through the trees as it reflected off the back of their prey. Second to the front, a young man on his fifth hunt let his arrow fly. The others sent their arrows after it. They heard the cry of the bird as it hit the ground a few yards away and they trotted over to surround it and take stock of the kill.
Sprawled on the floor of the forest was a gorgeous bird, made of light and wind, a trickle of blood painting a line down the side of its neck. Their hearts sank as they realized the sin they had committed. A low rumbling preceded the darkness that fell over the middle of the day. The hunters slowly fell to their knees, praying hands raised above their heads in supplication to an angry god.
They were sentenced an eternity of death in their sin. White birds dropped from the sky, onto and around each hunter, still crouched in prayer. When the birds alighted, each carried with it a head, fused within it like some hideous tumor, and raising from between their wings were the praying fingers of each hunter. The hunter’s bodies collapsed onto the ground, headless and handless.
The hunter’s misery, forever not quite dead and not quite alive inside their bird tombs, will infect anyone who gazes into their face for more than a moment and drive them mad.
One of these creatures was in my dream last night, trapped in my utility room that wasn’t really my utility room. We were trying to let it out the door without looking it in the face, but then the alarm went off.
Living on a lake in Florida has turned me into a bird watcher. I mean, the things are everywhere…on cars, in parking lots, crossing the road during heavy traffic. I don’t need a lake, but having a lake means I get to see birds I wouldn’t normally. Like this stork who weathered a downpour in our back yard.
So, fair warning, this is probably one of many backyard snaps to come.
Part of taking possession of a house, for me, is figuring out where and what everything is. That includes identifying all the plants and trees, and learning how to best care for them.
I was channeling middle school biology class looking at pictures of leaves and determining whether they were ovate or pinnate. Everything is so much easier when you have a flower to look at, but it wasn’t going to be that easy for me.
The first challenge were the two thin, vase-like ornamental trees in front. I thought, “they’re like crepe myrtle but there are no flowers; all the other crepe myrtle in town are blooming.” Two or three weeks later, they bloomed, and my suspicions were confirmed. Though, why they took their time is still a mystery.
The next was the flowerless, leather-leafed bush in back. It was especially difficult to track down but eventually I figured it might be a camellia. I would have to wait until it bloomed to tell for sure, and last week, it did just that.
Camellia, also known as the rose of winter, is an evergreen shrub native to China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. It flowers in late fall, when so many other shrubs and perennials have gone dormant, even in Florida.
If you’ve never lived in Philadelphia then you, like me, have never heard of the Mummers Parade – perhaps the oldest folk festival in the U.S. The Mummers Parade happens on New Years Day, and is based on the Mummers Play tradition from the U.K. and Ireland, which is one of several begging traditions from around Christmas and New Years.
Though the Mummers Parade has been broadcast locally since 1993 and digitally streamed since 2011, it seems to have had far less fan fair than the West coast’s Rose Parade. I hate to think this is because of football.
There are people who end up sitting in front of a computer with nothing worthwhile to do, or nothing worthwhile they want to do. Inspirograph, though maybe not made specifically for those people, can bring beauty and a little fun creativity to them.