Eva Cate’s birthday party was in a room (in the Charleston Museum) that housed left-over exhibits (probably items that didn’t warrant viewing in the main tourist rooms… due to lack of space.) When I sat down at one decorated birthday table I happened to glance up and at first view..thought the creature hanging above my head was some kind of flying dinosaur replica or something.
When I pointed and asked…our wonderful museum coordinator smiled and said “No it is an albatross.”
“Immediately all I could think of was…“Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink .” (The Rime of the Ancient Mariner) And the only other association that popped up from this poem learned in college was an idiom I used and still do…actually a lot- “Whew, it feels so good to have that “albatross off my neck.”
In college I would say it at the end of semester exams or term papers or a lengthy project…the sheer relief of having finally completed something I dreaded.
Today another word is associated with the idiom….guilt… based on the poem by Samuel Coleridge.
The poem tells the tale of an old seaman who, while on a sea voyage, kills an albatross with his crossbow. In nautical lore, albatrosses are a sign of good fortune, and killing one is meant to bring bad luck.
The crew of the ship forces the old seaman to wear the albatross’s carcass around his neck, which is meant to serve as a reminder of his misdeed. The seaman is then cursed and is forced to watch all his fellow crew members die from hunger and thirst. (“Water, water, everywhere but not a drop to drink.”)
The curse is finally lifted and the process of his absolution and atonement commences when he fully understands the sacrilege of killing one of God’s innocent creatures and opens himself up to total acceptance of all living creatures…asking forgiveness for the life he took.
I think in most cases today…this idiom is applied to the feeling one has when he or she reveals a secret or lie that has burdened them for a long period of time…and the sense of absolution once the lie is admitted…how wonderful it feels “to have the albatross off one’s neck.” (*We wouldn’t have soap operas today if they weren’t filled with secrets of all the characters and how these secrets/and or/ lies affect so many people’s lives. Soap operas in a nutshell.)
*The museum coordinator also told me some things about albatrosses I didn’t know…they could sleep while flying and rarely landed…mostly just to lay eggs. They glide instead of flying using air currents over seas and ocean… and spend 80% of their life (60 years average lifespan) over the water. They are one of the few birds who can drink salt water because of a special mechanism that have for ridding themselves of the salt.
While sleeping mid-flight, albatrosses don’t go completely on autopilot; the birds often sleep with only one side of their brain, leaving the other side awake. Most animals that sleep half-brained do so to stay alert for predators, but frigatebirds have no natural predators in the sky. Rattenborg suspects that they remain half-awake to prevent mid-air collisions, though none were observed during the study.
Could humans also benefit from many short naps over long periods of time? Leonardo Da Vinci is alleged to have slept only 90 minutes a day, in short fifteen-minute bursts every four hours. Maybe he was onto something that albatrosses already knew.
Source: Audubon Findings
So until tomorrow….Isn’t it unbelievable how each of God’s creatures is given all the unique tools it needs to live on this earth….each creature specialized for life and special in God’s eyes.
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh
When I went to the Tractor and Supply Store yesterday….four metallic chicken decorations were sitting on a table and I couldn’t help but think of Luke, Chelsey and their four “girls”… those funny little chickens with such diversified personalities.
Stopped by Anne’s yesterday…and her beautiful shade of yellow day lilies were all in bloom!
Besides being May Day…the first day of May will remind me this year that I finally planted my Moon flower seeds…they will be so beautiful when they bloom in late summer and early autumn.