Aw, hell, I’m enough of a fan I’m gonna post the whole announcement:
I don’t have the strength today to explain what happened. Let’s just say this was taken in our backyard around noon today:
We checked out the Empresses exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum today (yeah, I’m sorry we didn’t get out earlier so I could plug it before its final week) and aside from the most wondrous silk stitching I’ve seen in my life, I was stuck with a couple zoological-perspective revelations.
First, the symbol of the Emperor is the five-clawed dragon, the symbol of the Empress is the Phoenix. I noticed that to bolster the real-world actuality of the imaginary birds, they were always painted (and stitched, and carved) the same way (long neck with crested head, long legs, some peacock aspects to the plumage) and often in a natural setting — a bird among birds.
Second, it blew our brains how a different cultural attitude toward an animal can change its representation in art. I knew bats were considered good luck symbols (because of no more than a weird word coincidence), but did not realize how much a different connotation, even perception, of an animal could alter its representation in art. There were lots of bats with beautiful curly wings and cute, whiskery faces. And then some utterly wild ones that had white wings, pink heads and blue bodies (more like butterflies, really). Concluded that these were understood to not be realism in any way, but their own sort of ideogram.
[Single most astonishing object: the head-on-both-ends dragon seal of the final Emperor. It was not melted down like all previous ones because he was the last Emperor. Weighs 40 pounds. Incredibly detailed, utterly ferocious monster.]
Captivating meditations on sleep and esp. dreams. I may have mentioned this before, but Mother was fixated on her dreams, many mornings recalling them in detail. I have a very peculiar book of hers that purported to explain everything in dreams as some sort of signifier or signal or warning. Offers no research justifications beyond the way obvious: yes, dreaming dead people you knew have come back to life is scary and probably a warning that something unexpected is going to happen.
Sometimes the ocean in which we are the merest of ripples can deliver tiny joys. Today on our walk through the park, after seeing the rather yucky slug on the walkway, I mentioned that it seemed like years and years since we had seen any Woolly Bear caterpillars and how I remained fascinated (in fun) with their ability to predict the upcoming winter.
We then proceeded to see six of them, all very small, four edging along and two squished. Still have a little tingle from my words made fuzzy flesh.
“a caller reported that a flock of turkeys had been separated behind the tennis courts. The caller said that one turkey could not figure out how to reunite with the family on the other side of the fence and all the turkeys were pacing back and forth.”
“a caller reported a blue jay appeared ill and had not moved ‘for hours.’ The caller said the bird was near the farm stand and that lots of people had been touching it.”
I had the general impression that alligators and crocs were indifferent parents. Females laid the eggs, hatched them, and the little pre-dinos were on their own. Not so —
About three decades ago, we were walking through the Everglades in FLA and came across a couple German-speaking tourists who were tormenting a foot-and-a-half-long baby alligator by pulling its tail. I was about to run up to them and tell them to cut it the fuck out when the baby let out this piercing shriek — very high-pitched and birdlike.
Instantly, with a horrendous roar, the mother burst out of nearby reeds and began racing on fully erect legs toward the tourists — this was no slow crawling, she was moving fast as an attack dog. If she had been a yard closer, one of the tourists would not have a hand today. They sprinted away in terror and we got away in the opposite direction as fast as possible. Fortunately the mother began nuzzling the baby and was happy for the hairless apes to get gone quick.
Just a reminder — as every park ranger will tell you, these animals are not to be approached.
PS: Have to add that on the end of the same walk, a full-size alligator was snoozing on the tourist path and people wold bend down and pet it as they went by. Didn’t holler “Don’t Do That!!” But should have.