St. David’s Day and tradition

Today, March 1st, is St. David’s Day, which commemorates the date of the death of Dewi Sant in 589 AD. An aristocrat by birth, David founded several monasteries, most famously that at Glyn Rhosyn, where St David’s Cathedral now stands.

Traditionally, this day is celebrated by the wearing of a daffodil flower, which is the national flower of Wales. It seems to be a fairly obvious choice of bloom really given that these beautiful, bright trumpets of yellow are one of the earliest flowers to herald in the Spring. However, given that it is likely that the plant is not, in fact, native to Britain but was introduced from Europe from the 15th century onwards, it does seem an unusual choice, especially given St David’s death some 900 years earlier.

It turns out, in fact,  that the Welsh for the narcissus we know as the daffodil is Canninen Pedr which translates to St Peter’s Leek. The leek, of course, is the other symbol of Wales.

Strange how things work out.

Incidentally,  the daffodil is a symbol of good fortune, according to Chinese legend, so may today’s image bring you good fortune.

170301_StDavidsDay.JPG

~Richard

52 Week Challenge: Week 38

WEEK 38: Landscape: Get Low – Time to look at the world from a different angle. Shoot a landscape from a low point of view.

Not much chance to get out today so I went though some shots from earlier in the year. This one really cheered me up – spring daffodils leading up to a lovely old tree, taken from a fairly low angle.

160921_52wk38_landscapelow

~Richard

Spring has finally sprung… the tulips are here

It has been a month since we “sprung forward” with the annual clock moving, and we have since had some odd weather in Pennsylvania, fluctuating between a nice 70°F (21°C) all the way down to 21°F (-6°C) depending on the day. We even had one full day of snow last weekend!

All very frustrating, but all part of the change of Seasons.

Well, today was finally nice enough for me to get outside into the garden and start work tidying things up, cutting the lawn, building up the veggie plots and generally appreciating the outdoors life. And what’s more, over the last few days the tulips have finally come into bloom.

160416_Tulip
Happy Spring!

~Richard   

Spring forward or jet lag for non flyers

Today is a day when those of us in the USA can experience the phenomenon known as jet lag, without all the inconvenience of leaving home. For it is ordained that we must spring forward, like eager little bunnies and lambs and so enjoy the lighter evenings that the season affords.

For those of us who are early birds that get up at the crack of dawn this is a right royal pain in the derriere as we have to go back to darker mornings, but I guess that’s besides the point.

So, why do we think it’s a good thing to interfere with our biological clocks, interrupting our established circadian rhythm and generally upsetting the status quo?

Well, we have to look no further than one of the Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, to take some of the blame for it was he who, back in 1784, penned the idea in an essay entitled, “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light” in The Journal of Paris, along with other more Draconian ideas such as taxing window shutters, rationing candles, enforcing a curfew to reduce noise at night and conversely ringing bells and firing cannons and daybreak to awaken Parisians!

His rationale for this? Purely to save money, or the cost of candle wax, to be more specific!

As far as I can tell, his idea went unheeded until World War I when Germany implemented the system of putting the clocks back in order to increase diurnal productivity during a time of conflict. Britain and other nations soon followed and (much like the pub licensing hours in the UK within the Defence of the Realm Act from a similar time – but I digress…) the idea stuck and never went away.

On April 13, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into effect the Uniform Time Act to “promote the adoption and observance of uniform time within the standard time zones” to stop states from changing their clocks on different dates, standardizing it at the last Sunday in April. Eh, but it’s only March, so what’s going on?> Well, it seems that the powers that be were still not happy with this so the law was amended again in 1986 to move the date to first Sunday in April from 1987 and then again in 2005 to the second Sunday in March (i.e., today!).

If that wasn’t bad enough, other countries change their clocks at different times and even some US states and territories don’t observe this practice (namely Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Samoa and Northern Mariana Islands).

So, what is a person to do?

Well, as there’s very little I can do about it I will be forced to embrace the extra hour of light in the evening and sit outside on the deck with an alcoholic beverage, fortifying myself for the return of the dark morning on the morrow…

160313_SunsetWine

~Richard

Groundhog Day and Memories

Today is Groundhog Day! For those of us living in Pennsylvania it means it’s time when the State gets a little more air-time as the news crews descend upon the small town of Punxsutawney, PA where a poor old groundhog, designated as “Punxsutawney Phil” is dragged into the limelight from his home in the ludicrously named “Gobbler’s Knob” and, through some magical ceremony, prognosticates on whether Spring will be early or late.

The statistics of Phil’s accuracy are interesting and, with a 39% rate of being correct are significantly worse than chance. This being said, then I am assuming that we will have a long Winter this year since the unreliable rodent has opined that it will be an early Spring. Let’s see!

Of course the other famous Groundhog Day is the now classic 1993 film of the same name directed by Harry Ramis and starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. In my opinion this is much more fun! The idea of reliving the same day repeatedly but being able to alter it though your own behaviour is quite fascinating from a philosophical point of view. As Murray experiences in the film, after the initial shock and boredom wears off, there are myriad ways one can explore one’s own psyche as well as that of others. Now that is quite a fascinating concept. Imagine the ability to simply erase the mistakes of a day until, in the end you create what you consider to be your perfect day. Could you do it, or would you go mad trying?

I, on the other hand am going to approach this from a more mundane and blatant angle by posting one image below a link to a few images of the town where I spent some of my childhood many years ago.

160202_GroundhogDay

The number of days we kids spent roaming around and playing in this area, especially over the school holidays, meant that we were always searching for that “perfect day” and, although we wouldn’t have called it such, perhaps this was our own Groundhog day of sorts…  

~Richard

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