Whew! Ok, from now on when I say "days," I mean "weeks," ok? Chronos is out to get me...
So, here's June! I'll write a bit more later, as I'm late for something right now, but in the meantime...
Hummingbird/lizards! I was thinking about what I could possibly cross with a hummingbird, and of course "mouse" was the obvious choice...but somehow, I could never really see a plump, brown mouse fitting well with such a slender, jewel-like birds. Mice hide; hummingbirds hover jauntily outside your window and hang out with your flowers. So, I thought lizards instead.
Since of course there are many different and beautiful species of hummers in North and South America, I wanted to showcase a few of my favorites. I'm stretching the geography a little, especially with the lizard counterparts, but just pretend this is happening in the American South somewhere and it should all work out fine...
Species, from top center going clockwise:
1) Anna's Hummingbird (male)/ Whiptail
Name: Vee-Pis-Mahl (Pima Indians)
2) Calliope Hummingbird (male)/ Gecko
Name: Hoya (Zuni Indians)
3) Costa's Hummingbird (male)/ Green anole
Name: Colibri (Caribbean--"sun-god-bird" )
4) White-Eared Hummingbird (female)/ Collared lizard
Name: Tzunuum (Mayan)
5) Rufous Hummingbird (male)/ Blue-tailed skink
Name: Huitzilopochtli (Aztec)
6) Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (female)/ Green anole
So yeah, about the names: I did not know, before I started researching hummers, that they have been revered in many cultures as symbols of warfare, conquest, strength, and determination. I did not know this.
One of the Aztec's primary gods was Huitzilopochtli, "Left-Handed-Hummingbird," god of war and the sun. The Aztecs killed a lot of people to appease him. Yeah. They also believed that the soul of a warrior who died in battle would become a hummingbird to circle the sun for a year and a day. Cool, huh?
Vee-Pis-Mahl is the hummingbird in the Pima Indian's creation mythos, responsible for helping to find the center of the world.
The story of Hoya the hummingbird is one of my favorites that I found on this particular journey; it tells the story of Hoya, who falls in love with a beautiful maiden, and his quest to woo her and appease her jealous village. Look for it online, if you like...that's how I found it.
Tzunuum's story is my other favorite; this is possibly the only non-violent, happy, just plain NICE story I have ever heard from the Mayan legends. Tzunuum was created using leftover scraps, and the gods were so pleased with her that they threw her a beautiful wedding. All the birds donated one of their glorious feathers, and spider festooned the hall with glittering lace, and there was lots of food and merry-making...etc. SO NICE! So little Tzunuum here got the name.
That only leaves Ruby...which is really the most significant of the birds, for me, as well as the reason that I love hummingbirds so much. A few years ago, my brother found an injured female ruby-throated hummingbird in the grass at my grandparents' house. I took her home, called her Ruby, and kept her in an empty gerbil cage to see if her wing would heal (she couldn't "buzz" it like she could the other; she just kind of spun around in a circle if she tried to fly). I gave her sugar water, but hummers need more nutrition than that--so I would pick piles of honeysuckle, and feed the nectar to her, flower by flower (you know, by pulling out the string to get the drop...the way anybody eats honeysuckle!
) Ruby just loved it, and she lapped up each drop WITH HER SUPER-LONG FUZZY FORKED TONGUE ARGBIJILKLR.
Yes, hummingbirds do have forked tongues. Long ones.
Anyhow, so I gave her little baths in like a centimeter of warm water, and took her outside so she could exercise her wing, but she didn't fly so after about a week we took her to an exotic animals clinic nearby, that said they would look after her and either release her or give her to a trained rehabilitator for care. I don't know what happened to her after that, but I'd like to think that Ruby was eventually set free to buzz amongst the flowers once more.
So that's special. And I love hummers.
As for the lizards, well, I used to catch anoles all the time when I was a kid, and let me tell you are they fun. They're a real challenge, but my brother and I would make them a mansion in our sandbox for an hour or so and then set them free. Or else my cat would eat them. But so it goes, huh?
So, that's that. Plants are honeysuckle, morning glory, lantana (hummers LOVE it!) fuschia (I love it!) and assorted and sundry other things. And wind chimes.
Portfolio pastel, Faber-Castell Pencils, and India ink, as usual. I also threw in some shiny pinkish-gold nail polish for the flashier feathers...don't know how well it shows up in the scan, but it looks great in real life!
Other Calendar Gryphs:Jan: One-For-SilenceFeb: Two-For-HopeMar: Three-For-SolitudeApr: Four-For-SurvivalMay: Five-For-SecretsJuly: Seven-For-JoyAug: Eight-For-Duty