Monday, November 14, 2016

S is for Swift

ABC Wednesday
November 16, 2016

The letter is S, for SWIFT

Monday morning I awaken full of enthusiasm for working in the Loom Room.

I have a naked loom which must be dressed, and the first task is to turn skeins into balls that I can wind a warp with.


and while I am busy doing this humdrum task my mind wanders to other things I must do today.....ABC wednesday flits through my mind, - along with S, - for the Swift I am using,... for the bird who lives mostly in flight....for the essay and satirist, Jonathan Swift.  I am on to something!!!!

The Swifts are the most aerial of birds and the larger species are among the fastest fliers in the animal kingdom.  Even the Common Swift can cruise at 70 mph.  Compared with typical birds swiftlet wings have proportionately large wingtip bones and by changing the angle between the wingtip bones and the forelimb bones they are able to alter the shape and area of their wing, maximizing their efficiency and maneuverability.  Like the hummingbird they are able to rotate their wings from the base.

They have a short forked tail and very long swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang.  Most of their lives they spend in the air, - catching insects on the fly and even sleeping aloft.
The nests of many species is glued to a vertical surface with saliva, and the genus Aerodramus use only that substance, which is the basis for bird's nest soup. Over harvesting of this expensive delicacy has led to a decline in the numbers of these swifts.  Remember that when next you order Bird's Nest Soup...

The other Swift I am familiar with is Jonathan, the essayist, satirist, political writer and clergyman.  He was born in Dublin on November 30th, 1667.  His father died two months before he was born and as a consequence his mother, hoping to give him every chance possible, gave him over to Godwin Swift, her late husband's brother, and an attorney.  After an impressive education Jonathan Swift turned to writing and to the priesthood.  His first political pamphlet was titled A discourse on the Contests and Dissentions in Athens and Rome. Further writing earned him a reputation in London and the Tories asked him to become editor of the Examiner, their official paper.  After a time he became fully immersed in the political landscape and began writing some of the most cutting and well-known political pamphlets of the day,  When the Tories fell from power Swift returned to Ireland and took the post of dean at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin.

While leading his congregation at St. Patrick's Swift began to write what would  become his best known work, Gulliver's Travels.  The book was an immediate success and hasn't been out of print since its first run,  which is quite a record!!

Gulliver's Travels is an adventure story involving several voyages of Lemuel Gulliver, a ship's surgeon, who, because of a series of mishaps en route to recognized ports, ends up instead on several unknown islands living with people and animals of unusual sizes, behaviors, and philosophies, but who, after each adventure, is somehow able to return to his home in England where he recovers from these unusual experiences and then sets out again on a new voyage. Here is a little taste of his first voyage, and if you haven't read Gulliver's Travels yet find a copy and find out about his adventures with the Brodnagians, and others.

More interesting Ss here at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to Roger, Denise and Leslie
as well as their Super helpers

(The Super Moon is shining down upon me as I write this)


The Weaver of Grass said...

A young swift, just learning to fly, landed on our lawn last Summer. I picked it up and it really has no feet and legs to speak of - they are certainly not designed to stand on the ground. I took it into the field and held it on the palm of my hand and then launched it into the air. It was a lovely feeling.

Hildred said...

Oh yes,Pat. Lovely, and for the bird too. WE have swallows but I don't believe swifts frequent our valley.

Melody Steenkamp said...

lovely collection of s;s put together... I love birds so swallows , although rarely seen, are part of my favourits

Have a wonderful ABC-day / – week
♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (abc-w-team)

photowannabe said...

I learned a new definition today. I had no idea the Skein winder was called an Umbrella Swift.

Reader Wil said...

I also readGulliver's Travels.. Lovely story and easy to read. How clever you are to work with a loom.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I learned another meaning for swift. And another reason never to try birds nest soup ))) (not that I would ever have been tempted, even if I had ever seen it on a menu ). And I was reminded of another book to add to my never-to-be-finished list of books I know quite a bit about but have never actually read. (My self-education project has a way of getting derailed by the latest mystery or best seller.).

Roger Owen Green said...

never heard of an umbrella swift

Joy said...

I look forward to the return of the swifts next year although they tend to be outnumbered by swallows and house martins. Love the naming of the umbrella swift.