A2Z 2021 – Birds – Magpie

Featured Image by 👀 Mabel Amber, who will one day from Pixabay

  • Physical Description: A striking bird, the magpie has the deep, glossy black plumage of a crow or raven, with a white chest and white blazes across the top of the wings. The primary flight feathers also have white on them, as can be seen when the magpie flies. It measures approximately 20 inches long (almost half of which is the magpie’s long tail), has a wingspan of approximately 23 inches, and weighs about 6 ounces.
  • Geographic Distribution: Magpies are found in western and central Canada and the United States.
  • Environment: These birds are found in open woodland, meadows, and grasslands. Magpies are very comfortable in residential areas and around people

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

In China and Korea, the magpie is said to be a bird of good luck and happiness. If a chattering magpie is observed, it means guests will arrive or other good news is on the way. If you hear a magpie when you’re setting out, your errand will be blessed with good luck. However, in Western symbolism, the magpie is more often considered a thief or a wastrel, and a symbol of bad luck, much like crows and ravens. In England, it is considered unlucky to see a single magpie, and to offset the bad luck you must take off your hat, make the sign of the cross, or cross two sticks on the ground.

Magpies are attracted to shiny objects, and will often filch pieces of tin foil, glossy ribbons, and small coins to hoard. This has given rise to the casual terms “magpie syndrome” or “magpie mind, “which describe people being drawn to shiny, pretty things or ideas that distract them from what they should be properly focusing on.

In some American folklore, if a magpie lands on the roof of a house, it is a sign that the house is sturdy and will not collapse or be destroyed in a storm. In other folklore, a magpie landing on the roof or flying past a window means the imminent death of one of the inhabitants.

A commonly known folk rhyme lists the symbolism associated with the number of magpies seen. It is also applied to other corvids such as crows and ravens, and has a few different regional variations. Here is one of the most common versions.

One for sorrow, two for mirth,
Three for a wedding, four for a birth,
Five for silver, six for gold,
Seven for a secret not to be told.
Eight for heaven, nine for hell,
And ten for the devil’s own self.

In Greek mythology, the nine daughters of King Peirus of Emathia (Macedonia) challenged the Muses to a singing contest. When the sisters lost, they were punished by the Muses for their presumption by being transformed into nine chattering magpies.

A Chinese festival called The Night of the Sevens or the Magpie Festival is celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. It is a celebration for lovers, something like the Western Valentine’s Day. At this time of year the stars Vega and Altair are high in the sky, and in the story these stars represent two lovers, a princess and a cowherd, who were separated forever by the Milky Way. On this festival, all the magpies in the world, out of pity for the lover’s separation, rise up into the sky and form a bridge with their wings so the lovers may spend one night together.

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

The magpie may be telling you to look for the shiny things around you, to enjoy the bright attractive things in your life. Alternatively, it may recommend that you look at how you balance your love of shiny things with the more serious things in life. Are you too often distracted by the glittery things in life?

The magpie can also represent destructive habits; too much hoarding, gossip, idle chatter, or loud talk can harm you or others. But the magpie’s black-and-white coloring makes it a symbol of balance, and seeing it can remind you to maintain balance in your life.

Associated Energies: Hoarding, distraction, communication, balance between extremes
Associated Seasons: Spring, Summer
Element Association: Air
Color Associations: Black, White

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscockv

Reflections

I enjoyed learning about Magpie folklore. As for balancing the shiny and the serious, I feel like I have done this often in my life on here on my blog. While I like to contemplate serious topics that impact humanity, I can’t help but be attracted to sparkle of all sorts from time to time. 🙂

Many people consider the magpie to be among one of the smartest animals. They are highly sociable and have fascinating communicating patterns. I’ve watched many videos of the magpie, and it was interesting seeing them interact with other birds.

I saw a video of one imitating human speech and being ever so loving, one of two magpies getting territorial and harassing hawks, foxes, rats, another one of magpies attacking people. In Australia, it’s called swooping season! Below is a magpie mourning the death of a loved one.

Apparently, they can serenade you too! I was also fascinated by the Magpie Whisperer!

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Goldfinch

Featured Image by Michael Murphy

  • Physical Description: The goldfinch is a small, stubby bird measuring about 4.5 inches long, with a wingspan of approximately 8 inches and a weight of roughly .5 ounce. The bird’s plumage is mostly bright yellow, and it has a black blaze above the beak, black wing edges touched with white, and a white rump. The female is a duller color in the summer, but in the winter the male dulls whereas the female brightens slightly.
  • Geographic Distribution: The American goldfinch is found across southern Canada in the summer, in the northern United States year round, and in the southern United States and eastern Mexico in the winter. The European goldfinch is found across Europe, North Africa and western and central Asia. It has been introduced to other areas, including Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay.
  • Environment: The goldfinch’s preferred environments include meadows, fields, open woodland, and floodplains. This bird is very comfortable in cultivated and urban residential areas.
Photo from Pennington

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

The word carduelis in the European goldfinch’s name (Carduelis carduelis) means “thistle-eating,” and goldfinches love weeds such as thistles, particularly milkweed and other plants that produce flossy or fluffy seed heads. The goldfinch eats the seeds of these plants and uses the silky fluff of the plant to line and weave into its nest. The European goldfinch was sometimes called “thistle-finch:, and this bird is the distelfink seen in Pennsylvania Dutch folk art and lore. The distelfink represents happiness and good fortune to this community.

The gold color of this bird connects it with wealth. If the first bird a girl saw on Valentine’s Day was a goldfinch, she would marry a wealthy man. The goldfinch was also believed to be a symbol of protection against the plague in medieval times.

The American goldfinch, or eastern goldfinch, is the state bird of Iowa, New Jersey, and Washington. Goldfinches are sometimes casually referred to as ” wild canaries”.

The collective noun for a group of goldfinches is a “charm,” which is a lovely word suggesting the bird’s association with luck, health, joy and love.

Photo from Pennington

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

Yellow is a color of joy, cheer, and health. Seeing a goldfinch can be a boost to your general well-being. It may also be a sign to consciously introduce more joy into your life by engaging in what you love to do more than you are currently doing.

The male goldfinch’s bright colors fade after the summer and become a more subdued olive brown, whereas the female’s plumage brightens in the fall. This can be a reminder that you can choose your season to shine. Not everyone can be in the spotlight all the time; it can be draining and unhealthy. But by choosing your time carefully, you can make a significant impact. Just remember that in order to balance that season of shining, you need to retreat again and allow others their time in the light as well.

Associated energies: Joy, happiness, health, abundance, prosperity
Associated seasons: Summer
Element association: Air
Color associations: Yellow, black, brown

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

Every time I hear Goldfinch, I think of Crushed Caramel’s love for a wonderful man. Crushed Caramel is a bright and beautiful blogger here in the blogosphere sharing inspirational posts on love and life.

Photo from Pennington

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.

Eleonora Duse

It’s National Walking Day! The other day I took a afternoon walk at this national historical site I frequently visit, and I was overwhelmed with such a joyous feeling deep in my heart. The blue skies were vibrant. The sun was shining. The grass was growing. I was so appreciative of this gorgeous day. It could be the fact that my state is no longer a frozen, bleak landscape. I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear. I felt free. The fact that I was cooped up for the majority of last year while death and discord surrounded me was suffocating. I didn’t realize how it impacted my ability to do A2Z last year. I’m just so grateful for the littlest of things. I’m grateful to see and visit my loved ones more often.

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”

― Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
Photo from The Spruce

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Falcon

Featured Photo by Viktor Jakovlev on Unsplash

  • Physical Description: The falcon has a curve at the end of its beak that is sometimes referred to as a hook. Peregrine falcons average 17 inches in length, with a wingspan of about 42 inches and an average weight of about 2.5 pounds
  • Geographic Distribution: Falcons are found on all continents except Antarctica
  • Environment: Falcons are found in mountainous areas and open woodland, though they are at ease in urban areas and often substitute skyscrapers for cliffs.
Image by Miles Moody from Pixabay

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

One of the older names for falcons was tiercel, meaning “third”, as it was thought that only one egg in three hatched a male bird.

The falcon was one of the forms associated with the Egyptian god Horus, the god of war and hunting, and the Eye of Horus talisman (correctly known as the Wedjat) which represents the all-seeing eye of both the bird and the god. The hieroglyph of a falcon refers directly to Horus and means “that which is above.”

Ancient Egyptian God Horus
Photo by Aruna

Freya, the Norse goddess of love and sexuality, owned a falcon-feather cloak with which she shapeshifted and flew.

Deviant Artwork by flaming-wave666

Falconry, the sport of hunting game with trained small birds of prey, was an enormously popular social sport in medieval Europe. The falcon is sometimes used as a symbol of freedom from bondage or slavery, referring to a falcon that escapes the keeper’s hand and flies free, never to return. Likewise, the falcon can symbolize unfettered or passionate love, building on the image of a tamed falcon, once unhooded and untied, bursting forth in pursuit of its goal.

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

The falcon is power in a small package. These birds move efficiently in more than one sense of the word, wasting no energy of motion. How is your efficiency these days? You may need to work on your split-second decision making.

“Peregrine” means wanderer. If you see a peregrine falcon, it may be reminding you that movement is important. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re about to pull up stakes and move to another place (although it might), but it may suggest that changing to the familiar can be limiting. Being too comfortable and not seeking to expand your horizons can have a negative impact on your potential. Try pushing yourself outside your comfort zone in order to expose yourself to new ideas and concepts.

The falcon can be seen as a diurnal symbol, as it is generally associated with the sun. Remember, though, that the Egyptian god Horus had two eyes. One was the sun, but the other was the moon. Thus the falcon can be a symbol of balance and completion too.

Associated Energies: Perception, efficiency, power, balance
Associated Seasons: Summer, fall
Element Associations: Air, fire
Color Association: brown, buff, cream, rust

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

Wow, I’m just in awe of the falcon’s sheer speed. 200 MILES PER HOUR. They’re incredible! You do not want to get on their bad side. Intelligent and razor sharp, figuratively and literally!

A few nights ago, I chatted with a friend and he shared with me a link about being more efficient in life. Saving money on food ($1.50/day) , 2hr/week workout, etc. (https://efficiencyiseverything.com/)

I was first intrigued by industrial engineering when I first read about Lillian Gilbreth, an extraordinary lady. She applied psychology to time-motion studies and helped industrial engineers understand the psychological dimensions of work. She was an industrial engineer, psychologist, consultant, and educator, and raised a large family.

Her son wrote a book, “Cheaper by the Dozen” which later inspired a modern day film. It was fascinating reading about how her kids developed ways to save money and be more efficient in their morning routine. I only know three women in my social circle who decided to have 12 kids outside of Lillian. One being my grandmother, the other two women in their 40s-50s. Imagine giving each child the time and attention he/she deserves. So much can go on in their lives. Kudos to mothers who do so much for their kids!

Gilbreth Family photo on Pixels

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Dove

Featured photo by Sylvia Maulding

  • Physical Description: Doves are medium-sized birds with short stout bodies, short necks, and short beaks. Size varies according to the species as does coloring. The mourning dove, the most common species in North America, measures about 11 inches long, with a wingspan of 18 inches and a weight of approximately 5 ounces.
  • Geographic Distribution: Doves are found worldwide except in the high Arctic, Antarctica, the Sahara Desert, and other harsh places. most live in tropical or subtropical climates.
  • Environment: Doves prefer woodlands, forested areas, and fields.

Myths Folklore, and Cultural Associations

Stereotypically, the dove is portrayed as white and gentle, sweet, and loving. The dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit in Christian iconography. Some iconographers show Mary being blessed by a dove at the moment of Annunciation, and Jesus was blessed by the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove at his baptism. The dove is said to be so pure that it is the one form into which Satan cannot transform himself. Doves and pigeons were the only birds suitable for sacrifice by the Hebrews, as stated in Leviticus 1:14. the dove appears as a symbol of purity on the Holy Grail in Malory’s Morte d’Arthur. In Muslim lore, a dove murmured the words of God into the ear of Muhammad.

Today the dove is a symbol of peace, often portrayed with an olive branch in its mouth. This iconography is taken from the story of Noah releasing the bird to bring back proof that there was land again somewhere and that the floodwaters were receding. The dove is also seen as representing love; it was a symbol of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, and of Venus her Roman counterpart. Lovers are said to “bill and coo” like doves. The dove is a monogamous bird, which may be the source of its connection with romantic and eternal love.

In Slavic folklore, doves were believed to conduct the souls of the dead to heaven. For the Celts, the mournful call of a dove meant the peaceful passing of someone.

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

Doves call you to regain your serenity. Do you feel off balance, or out of step with the world? Are you harried or frazzled? The dove reminds you to take a deep breath and release all your tension and stress.

The dove also urges you to look at your relationships with your partner(s), romantic, work related, or otherwise. Are you in harmony with them? Is there friction? Reach out and smooth over any rough spots. Seeing a dove may be an omen of a new relationship, or a shift in an existing one.

Doves are associated with purity and innocence. Do you feel as if life has jaded you? Try to recapture a sense of innocence, of wonder and love for the world around you. Operating constantly with a cynical worldview is exhausting. In a situation that is frustrating or upsetting to you, a dove may be encouraging you to wipe the slate clean and start again.

As a symbol of the holy Spirit, the dove is associated with the mystical fifth element of spirit. Let you sighting of a dove remind you to reconnect with the spiritual aspect of your life; accept it as a blessing.

Associated energies: Peace love, serenity, blessing, patience, grace, hope, marital happiness, purity
Associated seasons: Year round
Element associations: Air, water, earth
Color Associations: White, ivory, buff, brown, grey

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay

“A dove struggling in a storm grows stronger than an eagle soaring in sunshine.”

― Matshona Dhliwayo

This quote makes me reflect on how adversity can either make you or break you. It also makes me think of the beguiling saying, “The weak shall lead the strong.” The eagle is such a powerful bird and yet bald eagles for instance have been under the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Doves are also in danger from hunters who hunt them for sport. It’ll be a scary day when they rise up and attack back.

“When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence…”

– J.B. Phillips, a British Bible translator, translates James 1:2-5

What does endurance look like?

That past snow storm in February made me wonder how the wildlife was going to survive. I think those from Canada or Norway have looked our situation and said, “That did NOT look like a lot of snow. Negative degree weather during the winter is rather normal for us.” 🙂 Many people have died due to the extremity of conditions they were not used to in my area. Others have demonstrated their resiliency and were resourceful, adapted, and survived the ordeal. As I’m typing this though, I hear the birds chirping outside my window and the previously dead trees sprouted new leaves. The Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research was able to rescue the turtles. Sometimes, we need a little help from each other.

The other day I received a comment a collared doves, and I was so curious to listen to them. They have such a calming coo. With all the things going on in the world and my busy schedule, this is just a nice step away from any sort of stress build up!

First Kiss

It was the best first kiss in the history of first kisses. It was as sweet as sugar. And it was warm, as warm as pie. The whole world opened up and I fell inside. I don’t know where I was, but I didn’t care. I didn’t care because the only person who mattered was there with me.

—Sarah Addison Allen

Happy February everyone!

January was a entire month of self-care and care for others. My boyfriend and his family have successfully recovered from COVID. Their stamina is still weak, but with more rest, they will be fine. However, my brother and father now have COVID, and I will be checking in with them now. So, it looks like my blogging schedule is going to change once again!

UPDATE: As I’m typing this, two whole buildings nearby have caught on fire, and the fire department is having trouble putting it out. 4 firetrucks, 10 or so ambulances. I praying for 12+ families. The internal structure is falling apart fast…

Boy, I miss this space. Hope all is well in your world! February is a special month of love for all sorts of momentous occasions. Jude, host of The Saturday Symphony, has created a prompt regarding one’s first kiss. If you have a story, feel free to join in!

I’ve heard of many stories from others. Some were sad (like herpes-sad). Some were amazing (like fireworks). Some were funny (like gum in braces). The most hilarious story I read about someone’s first kiss was the fictional tale of Georgia Nicolson! It’s a learning experience! 😀

Being the lovable, squishy person that I am, I have plenty of funny tales, and but today you’ll only learn of one: the first one. It’s so refreshing for me to write since he will be anonymous. He knows who he is! 😉 I don’t think he’s reading this. Though I’m not with him today, I’ll never forget him.

Framework for Romance & Love

When I was 17, I helped my aunt by working at her video & music CD shop. What made my aunt’s shop unique was the fact that she had several collections of Asian foreign films. I helped sweep the dust, assisted customers, and organized VHS tapes on the shelves. I loved working there! I would read the back flap on these movies, and if there’s something I liked, I can rent it from her.

I was always curious about the romance genre, and I would rent such a variety of romantic films. Some were epic period dramas like the new Netflix series, “Rise of the Phoenixes”. My aunt had so many Chinese sagas where the characters wear beautiful costumes and the drama has you hanging on to the edge of your seat.

Do you know how many ways love can hit you? So it makes you happy, or miserable? It makes you sick in the belly or hurt in the heart. It makes everything brighter and sharper, or it blurs all the edges. It makes you feel like a king or a fool. Every way love can hit you, it’s hit me when it comes to you.

~ Nora Roberts

During the summer break, I would also get wrapped up in the many romance stories written by the talented storyteller, Nora Roberts. One of my friends teased me on how obsessed I was with her books. The relationships were so passionate and sensual. I began rivaling the senior ladies who check out twenty of them at a time from the public library! She is one of my favorite authors who captures the Irish scenery so beautifully. This is one of the summaries for one of her books, “Jewels of the Sun”.

Determined to reevaluate her life, Jude Murray flees America to take refuge in Faerie Hill Cottage, immersing herself in the study of Irish folklore and discovering hope for the future of the magical past. Finally back home in Ireland after years of traveling, Aidan Gallagher possesses an uncommon understanding of his country’s haunting myths. Although he’s devoted to managing the family pub, a hint of wildness still glints in his eyes—and in Jude, he sees a woman who can both soothe his heart and stir his blood. And he begins to share the legends of the land with her—while they create a passionate history of their own.

Jewels of the Sun
Green fields of Ireland

The Stage is Set

So with all these idealistic visuals floating around in my head, my expectations surrounding love may have set the bar a bit high given my total lack of experience. 😀

Sitting on a metal stool, I twirled my mechanical pencil around. I was working on a biology assignment in the lab. Studying the human cell in a diagram, the mitochondria is quite the powerhouse! I wore a striped lime green sleeveless shirt that my aunt gave me. I didn’t realize it at the time, but she saved my social life by replacing my frumpy clothing with stylish, trendy ones.

Sure enough, a young man who sat across from me complimented me on it, and we struck a conversation about this catchy, trance song, Butterfly, as we studied the anatomy of a cell together listening to it on a loop.

Ayumi Hamasaki – Butterfly

All of the sudden, biology was becoming more enjoyable! 🙂 Flabby physique, short hair, round baby face, a charming smile, self-deprecating humor. He was tanned from playing tennis in the afternoons with his best friend who was a girl. He invited me to play with his crew. After school, I let my parents knew I was hanging out with some friends to play some tennis for the first time. We took the school bus to a campus that had courts to play at.

Image Credit: Pixabay

We arrive at the courts, and he handed me an extra racket. “We’re playing doubles!” He and I were on one side of the net, his friend and the football quarterback was on the other. The quarterback served the ball in my direction as I was learning about the continental grip. I was not ready, and the ball hit me straight into the stomach with such velocity, it left a really bad bruise. Understand that as a football quarterback, he has an incredible arm throw!

They immediately ran up to check on me, but I brushed it aside not wanting to drag the game down. So I learned quickly, and managed to keep up a game with some consistent volleys. After two hours of play, I was sweating buckets, breathing heavily, and called it a day. The courts were nearby his friend’s homes, so we began walking towards the neighborhood.

One by one, his friends parted ways and headed inside. Then it was just me and him walking alongside the sidewalk together. There was a build-up of saliva in my mouth and I spat it out. I sighed, “Sorry, that was very un- lady like.” He laughed out loud, which made me smile and invited me to his parent’s house for dinner.

We arrived at his place and as he opened the door, his two siblings gave him a big hug and asked if he could play video games with them. I watched as they played a few rounds. After they were tired, he carried them to put them to bed for a nap. He decided to program on his computer a bit, as I lied on his bed and rested.

After a bit, he slid next to me as we watched the ceiling together talking about our dreams in life. We exchanged gazes for a moment, and he kissed my shoulder and inched upward towards my face. We kissed as our warm bodies were next to each other. It was fun, yet slobbery. I smacked my lips and laughed, but he wanted to explore a bit more. At which point, I became tense and pulled away.

All of the sudden, it occurred to me how quickly this relationship was moving, and that I didn’t realize it. He said to me, “Sa, everyone’s doing it.” I responded back, “That may be true, but I don’t really cave into peer pressure.” Staring at the ceiling, I eventually stood up at that point and called my dad to pick me up. His parents arrived as well and smiled at my presence. I chatted with them a bit and had a pleasant conversation. I enjoyed their company for the rest of the evening until my dad showed up.

The next day we met up at the school library, he apologized for taking advantage of the situation. I said it was fine, but wasn’t sure what to make of it. So, I continued hanging out with him only at school where teachers were watching. Perhaps, it put a damper on things.

One day, our English teacher read one of our speeches aloud as we were drilling for the writing portion of the standardized tests. She winked at him as she read his story which mentioned me in description only and how we knew we would always care for each other. I was so embarrassed, and he turned red as a beet.

After high school graduation, though, we parted ways, and gone off in different directions. I remember feeling a tinge of jealousy when he chatted to one of my friends. Maybe I still cared about him. When he moved away to another state, I was genuinely happy for him when he got his dream job as a software developer for a gaming console and writing documentaries on the side.

I moved on with my life since then, and I’m in a happy relationship now. Yet, like every other human being who was once in a state of love, you never seem to forget your first kiss.


#Paint-Chip Poem 49: The Romantic Gift

“Maybe our Happily Ever After hadn’t worked on the first shot. And maybe Happily Ever Afters weren’t a singular event. Maybe they were something you had to work at, and build, and never give up on, as long as they were something you still wanted.” 

Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales

Pitter patter of rain subsides & puddle evaporates
As the sun rays reaches the ground’s surface
Overjoyed and egg-static, the suave gentleman
Egg-xits the grand foyer in great stride and
Moon walks across the outdoor patio
Over to the fireplace where he takes a seat
Chilly air lingers – hearthstone warm to the touch
Emotions resembling to the lyrics of a Tangerine Dream song

You've been out of my life sometime now
Seem like a long, long while
Sometimes the thoughts of you
Bring tears to my eyes
While the times that bring a smile
I remember what you told me
We would always be close in our hearts

He gingerly snaps open a leather jewelry box
Marveling at the vintage turquoise Faberge egg earrings
Rated highly by the jeweler he bought it from
Excited to surprise his beloved on her birthday
The symbolism behind her birthstone alone
Wisdom, tranquility, protection, hope
Qualities to seal the relationship with good fortune
Giving it to her should be easy-peasy
Yet their long-distance history together
Makes for a complex arrangement

In reference to:

#Paint-Chip Poem: Think of Me Fondly

Image Credit: Telegraph, Why the Faroe Islands needs 37 words for fog

Far from the rolling hills of Denmark,
lies Aalborg’s famous House of Music.
Beyond the brushed aluminum exterior,
audience members gaze upon the stage

Opera enthusiasts wait for the singer
With shut eyes, she whispers “open sesame
as the invisible curtains part ways in her mind
Starry backdrop of lapis lazuli skies
gives way to her glowing presence

A brilliant spotlight shines upon her
Thousands of sparkles glitter across the stage
Her melodious voice flowed with honey
with no signs of rusty inflections

Image Credit: Think of Me (The Phantom of the Opera, 2004)

Think of me, think of me fondly 
When we’ve said goodbye 
Remember me, once in a while 
Please promise me you’ll try 
When you find that once again you long 
To take your heart back and be free 
If you ever find a moment 
Spare a thought for me

“Think of Me”, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Phantom of the Opera

Image Credit: Musikkens Hus, Aalborg House of Music, Aalborg, Denmark

#Paint-Chip Poem: Her Wedding Day

Photo by Annie Timmons Photography

She applied some lipstick and smacked her lips
The soon-to-be bride was just peachy
She was going after the whole enchilada
After all, it was her wedding day!

Calligraphed sand dollars for the guests
A wonderful apricot nectar cake for dessert
Bridesmaids were happy with their coral dresses
She and her fiance helped decorate the beautiful venue

The Melrose Knitting Mill
A restored mill warehouse in downtown Raleigh
An elegant red brick space where fantasies comes true!

Image Credit: Etsy
Linda Kruschke’s Paint-Chip Poetry #32
The only difference I can see is that the all of these paint chips are gradients of a red pigment except for the sand dollar. It sure is a toughy! 🙂

The Rise of a Median King

Hello everyone, hope you are well! One of my favorite interests include Greek classical history and mythology.

I’m endlessly fascinated about the downfall of former empires and the Greek tragedies that touch upon universal themes and issues that impact humanity. To this day, classical mythology has influenced modern-day culture in a variety of arenas: sports, cardinal virtues, architecture, chemistry. Many series such as The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson is highly influenced by classical myth.

The fictional story below is an embellishment of historical and biblical events that took place in ancient Iran, Iraq, and Ukraine during 627 BCE to 560 BCE. I loosely followed the accounts of Herodotus, a Greek historian, in his book, “The Histories”, Josephus’ in “Against Apion”, the Bible, and Qu’ran. There are some inconsistencies regarding the parentage of Amytis across historical accounts, but that leaves room for my imagination to weave in some magic. 🙂

A Bold Maneuver

He noted the situation had become grim...

Young Cyaxares, son of the late king of Media, Phraotes, received news that his father was dead. He was slain in battle by members of the Assyrian army led by Ashurbanipal, the zealous and brutal king of Assyria.

Relief of Ashurbanipal hunting on horseback. Nineveh, Assyria, 645–635 BC.
Image Credit: British Museum

The Assyrian empire was powerful and dominated the lands. They reached the ultimate heights of technological, scientific and cultural achievements of the time. Ashurbanipal, in all his might and military expertise, reasserted dominion over the Medes, Persians, and Parthians. His glorious palace along the Tigris River served as a reminder of his status in the world.

The Monuments of Nineveh by Sir Austen Henry Layard, 1853
Image Credit: National Geographic

Nomadic Scythian warriors got wind of the news and swiftly raided Cyaxares’ homeland. For nearly three decades, Scythian officials controlled the region and exacted tribute from the Median citizens. Cyaxares resented their presence and began to formulate a strategic plan to avenge his father.

One evening, Cyaxares invited the Scythian chieftains to a fine banquet where they enjoyed a fine feast and alcohol. The aroma of marijuana filled the air. Cyaxares murdered them while they were drunk and their guards were lowered. He later proclaimed that he was king of Medes. The Scythians soon recognized their leaders were killed and subsequently retreated to the steppes.

Taking Down the Big Kahuna

Cyaxares united various tribal forces afterward and gradually conquered and occupied several Assyrian territories. He prepared to go to war against the Assyrian empire, but he was going to need help. He formed a few alliance and friendship treaties. One of his allies was Nabopolassar, Chaldean king of Babylonia, who decided to join Cyaxares’ effort to confront the Assyrians and their Egyptian allies.

The eventual death of Ashurbanipal led to Assyria’s weakened political infrastructure. The Medians and the Babylonians took advantage of Assyria’s internal strife and besieged the capital of Assryia, Nineveh, one of the greatest cities in the world.

Battle of Nineveh
Image Credit: Alchetron

Raising a Family

Cyaxares married and soon gave birth to a son named Astyages and a daughter named Amytis. To forge and formalize the alliance between the Babylonian and the Median dynasties, Cyaxares gave his daughter’s, Amytis, hand in marriage to Nabopolassar’s son, Nebuchadrezzar II.

Image Credit: Louvre Museum

She packed a few belongings and moved to Babylon with Nebuchadrezzar II. When she arrived, she was dismayed at the dry and flat landscape. She missed the mountains and lush scenery of Media. Cognizant of Amytis’ homesickness, he decided to replicate a piece of her homeland by creating: The Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

 Maarten van Heemskerck (1498-1574)

Amytis was surprised that her new husband would go to such lengths to make her happy. She recognized certain trees and plants that she enjoyed in her homeland and was touched by his commiseration. Not only was she pleased, the community shared their plaudits. She knew that he was capable of bringing Babylon back to its full glory.

Image Credit: Wallpaper Safari

Her husband fortified the city’s defenses and rebuilt many temples. Little did she know, however, that he would go mad towards his final days. All of his past achievements and success contributed to an increasingly high ego.

Nebuchadrezzar II
Image Credit: jubran.deviantart.com

When three young Hebrew men didn’t bow down to him one fateful day, he tried to burn them in a fiery furnace to no avail. Daniel, a revealer of future mysteries, was held in captivity with them. He interpreted the king’s dreams and predicted that world powers shall rise and fall. Feeling a bit insecure, Nebuchadnezzar threw Daniel into a pit of lions. Imagine his surprise when the lions didn’t eat Daniel… 🙂