Who Is the Other Mary?

Matthew 28:5 gives an account of the resurrection narrative, which is where an angel has appeared at the empty tomb and gives instructions to Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary”.  But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.  There are many different ideas on who this other Mary was and since it happened so long ago, all of this is speculation now.  Mary is a common name for a female and I included four Mary’s when I wrote my second book Ancient Book Of Eli.  The first Mary was the mother of Jesus, the second was Mary Magdalene, the third was Mary sister of Lazarus and from what I could find there was this one person called Mary of Clopas and another Mary Salome,  I felt that I could switch this around and I had Salome being the mother of this Mary who was married to Clopas, thus making her Mary of Clopas the baker.  With her mother being Salome, it made sense for her to also be called Mary Salome.  It was this Mary who got married in the wedding at Cana and because I made Salome a cousin of Jesus’ mother, her daughter Mary was the sister of the apostles John and James.  I know very confusing, but it made sense to me.  I guess one reason that I wrote this book was to embellish on what could have happened and make more sense out of everything.  Below is my resurrection story, but the other Mary is not in it.

Mary Magdalene said, “The saddest day of my life was when I stood under the cross and watched when Jesus died.  Jesus always seemed to be in control of everything that was going on around Him, but while He was up on the cross, He looked so helpless.  Jesus was innocent and He suffered and died and to His very end, He was trying to save others by requesting forgiveness for those who were Salome crucified with Him.  When the Sabbath ended, I went to His tomb with Jesus’ mother Mary, His Aunt Salome and my good friend Susanna, so we could anoint Jesus’ body with burial spices that Nicodemus had given us.  On our way there, we started discussing how we could we be able to roll the stone away from the entrance to the tomb.  We decided that we would try to roll the big stone away ourselves, but if this proved to be too difficult, so we decided that we would go back and recruit as many disciples, as we thought would be necessary to help us.  We arrived at the tomb early Sunday morning, just past sunrise.  When we arrived, we saw that the very large stone had been split in two and was lying on its side, so we entered the tomb.  Inside on the right we noticed a young man sitting clothed in a white robe, which startled us.  Once our eyes adjusted to the darkness of the tomb, we realized that this was not a young man, but an angel.  The angel said, ‘Do not be so surprised.  You are looking for Jesus, the Nazarene, who was crucified.  Why are you looking for the living among the dead?  He isn’t here!  He has been raised from the dead!  Look, this is where they laid his body.  Remember He told you that He would be turned over to sinful men, be crucified, and rise again on the third day!  Now go and give this message to His disciples, including Peter.  Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee.  You will see him there, just as He told you before he died’!”

“We fled from the tomb, trembling and bewildered, not saying anything to each other, because we were too frightened to talk.  We knew that the apostles were with Steven, who was one of the seven ordained deacons that helped to look after and provide care for the widows and the poor.  When we arrived there, we found the apostles hiding out in the upper room at his house.  Inside Steven’s house, we saw Peter, Andrew, John and James and I told them that I had seen an angel of the Lord, and we all reported the instructions that were given to us from the angel.”

“Salome and her husband Zebedee were at Steven’s house along with their daughter Mary and her husband Clopas, the baker.  Clopas had made honey buns topped with sugar frosting in the shape of a cross, which he said was to honor Jesus.  Clopas also made these rolls of pastry filled with grape preserves that were shaped like bunny rabbits, which were also delicious.  Joanna the wife of Chuza soon arrived.  After we ate this lovely breakfast, Peter and John went back to the tomb with me to see for themselves.  They saw the stone was gone and they looked inside the tomb and they saw the linen cloths that Jesus’ body had been wrapped in, but nothing else.  Peter and John were amazed at what they saw and they believed what I had told them, but shortly after that, they said they were going to Peter’s house, as they were confused about what they should do.  I remained standing outside His tomb weeping.  I was still seeking direction from the one that I loved so dearly.  I was burning with the fire of love, longing for Him who had been taken away from me.”

“Suddenly Jesus was standing there beside me, but I did not recognize Him, as I thought this man must be the gardener.  Jesus said to me, ‘Woman, why are you crying?  Who are you looking for?’  I replied, ‘Sir, if you have taken Him away, tell me where He is, and I will take Him!’  Jesus said, ‘Mary!’  Then I recognized this gardener to be Jesus and I exclaimed, ‘Master!’  Jesus said, ‘Don’t hold on to me, because I have not yet returned to my Father.  But go to my disciples and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’  I ran all the way to Peter’s house and said to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord!’, and I told them everything that had happened.”

What kind of Deadheads are in that video?  I guess they don’t know the story about how Benjamin Franklin developed a new and unique method for casting bells, one that could be used to improve the production process of large bells.  The method utilized steam to assist in the cooling process while the bell is still hot.  The steam causes a rapid cooling, producing droplet of dew on the bell.  This was called “dewing the bell”.  After this process, the bell was rolled on cotton cloth to absorb the excess moisture and Franklin called that rolling away the due.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #81.

Hippies on Camels

In 1978, the Grateful Dead began a spiritual and mystical journey playing three of their shows at the Sound and Light Theater in the shadows of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Cairo, Egypt.  Phil Lesh took on this project, because he wanted to play at places that held power.  The Egyptian government approved the concerts after the Dead agreed to donate all proceeds from ticket sales to the country’s Department of Antiquities, which preserves Egypt’s ancient wonders.  Not everything ran smoothly, as one of their trucks got bogged down in the sand and had to be pulled out by camels, and due to an injury Bill Kreutzmann had to play his drums one-handed.

The renowned Nubian Egyptian oud (musical instrument of the lute family used in southwest Asia and northern Africa) player Hamza El Din, along with the Nubian Youth Choir, joined the Grateful Dead onstage during all three concerts that they performed at the foot of the Pyramids of Egypt.  The collaboration resulted in the hypnotic, polyrhythmic instrumental ‘Ollin Arageed’, which Hamza wrote.  This tune has a beautiful history behind it, as it supposedly played for a person only once in their lifetime, at the celebration of their first wedding.  The rhythm is composed of three different beats on the tar (Iranian long-necked, waisted lute family instrument), accompanied by a melody handclapping, feet beating on the ground, and, traditionally, singing and the noise of women’s jewelry in their soft movements to those rhythms.  On the second night, as they sang and danced to this, the moon went into eclipse, which must have been pretty cool.  Mickey Hart became good friends with Hamza el-Din, and over the next seven years, Hamza would perform this with the Grateful Dead live four more times at concerts in the US.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #80.


I Give It Ten More Years

Yes, the lighthouse has been standing for over a century, but it started leaning recently and it is bound to collapse.  The leaning tower of Pisa seemed to defy the laws of physics and work was done on it to straightened it up in 1838, 1934 and 1992.  The Tower started leaning in 1178, because the soil underneath the foundation was not strong enough to carry all of its weight.  This project cost millions and the Pisa tower is accessible, so they could get big machines to help out with the work, where as this lighthouse is remote and basically there is no way to approach it other than by ship.  It is a beautiful lighthouse, but it will be much cheaper to tear it down and build a new one, than to invest time and money on restoring this one.  It is sad in a way, but the lean is being monitored constantly and as soon as the budget allows it, a new one will be constructed.  It is top heavy and nothing is going to stop gravity from taking it down.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #79.

Late For Supper

The table was set, but after the aliens landed, it caused so much panic that nobody came to the supper table.  In 1972, Jerry Garcia came out with his self-titled album/CD Jerry Garcia which was more like a Grateful Dead album than a Jerry Garcia Band solo release.  Jerry Garcia played all of the instruments on this including acoustic guitar, electric guitar, pedal steel guitar, bass, piano, organ, samples, and vocals along with Bill Kreutzmann handling the drums.  Only two of the songs were ever performed by the Jerry Garcia Band on a regular basis, ‘Deal’ and ‘Sugaree’ and both of these songs were performed by the Grateful Dead along with the four other songs ‘Bird Song’, ‘Loser’, ‘To Lay Me Down’ and ‘The Wheel’ from this CD which were regular concert rotations for the Grateful Dead.  There is also a rather spacey and curious instrumental suite that is made up of three songs ‘Late for Supper’, ‘Spidergawd’ and ‘Eep Hour’, whose meanings are anybody’s guess, as I have listened to them many times and they are still supremely unclear.

When I looked at Sadje’s picture prompt today, it made me think about ‘Late for Supper’ and I wanted to hear this song again.  Garcia takes two totally separate and distinct paths with this suite, as one is sort of country-ish, folk-rock style and the other is this far more progressive, experimental reaching for new modes and new ways of expression like the far-out dude that he was.  I have heard some people say that this song is unlistenable, but maybe you just have to be very stoned to appreciate this kind of weirdness.

I have also heard that ‘Late For Supper’ and ‘Spidergawd’ being described as sounding like a a spidery rake of piano innards soon followed by electronically-processed piano that erupt and resound like a super echoed gong, threading into pre-recorded sound loops, disembodied TV voices and percussion of a quietly freaky nature that crossfades together and into the majestic ‘Eep Hour’.  This same person said that it was like Screamin’ Jay Hawkins meeting Island-period Eno (a time when the British musician Brian Eno became interested in tape recorders and their potential as musical devices) being on Quaaludes.  They went on to say this piano-led and cobwebbed waltz is resplendent with spook-o-rific organ that soon parts for the entry of a truly yearning pedal steel riff (No, wait: not ‘riff’ — it’s far too beautiful to be called anything except the musical equivalent of compassionate optimism facing of the future).  Well, I guess this cat must have been smoking some really good stuff when he wrote that.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #78.

The Illusion

She looks out at the sky above and wonders if this is her real life, or could this all be a fantasy?  She has places to go and things to do, but she likes to take deep breaths and ponder the mysteries of the universe.  She doubts that her life will ever become significant, she is just here to be happy and she decided that her purpose is to make others happy along the way.  She would like to be remembered as a good person and she will continue trying to make the world a better place for everyone to live in as soon as she figures out how to accomplish that,

Breathe deep the gathering gloom,
Watch lights fade from every room.
Bedsitter people look back and lament,
Another day’s useless energy spent.
Impassioned lovers wrestle as one.
Lonely man cries for love and has none.
New mother picks up and suckles her son.
Senior citizens wish they were young.
Cold-hearted orb that rules the night
Removes the colors from our sight.
Red is grey and yellow white,
But we decide which is right
And which is an illusion.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #75.

Josie and Todd

Josie was tired, it had been a long day as she had already serviced 17 customers, but Todd required her to be out on the street for 4 more hours.  A man propositioned her saying, “How much baby?” and Josie fired back at him, “Are you soliciting me, and if you are, I need you to tell me that you are not a cop?”  The guy replied, “What if I am, as there is nothing written that says law enforcement officers must answer truthfully and that is because Police couldn’t do their jobs if they were restricted to telling the truth all of the time, as telling the truth might put the officer’s life in jeopardy.”  Josie said, “Well you sure do know a lot about cops and I guess that you know a thing or two about hookers also, as you look like a very worldly man.  If you want to know how much you will have to pay, then go down to the corner and ask for Todd, as he handles all of my negotiations.  He will decide if you are legitimate, take your money and give you a code to bring back to me.  I am a lot like this sign here, ‘Packard ask the man who owns one’ and I am sure you know how this works.”

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #72.

Welcome to Shangri La

She sashayed her way into the walled off city, knowing that this once lost Tibetan paradise was the last thing left for her to see on her bucket list.  She planed on ending it once she reached this utopian wonderland, this permanently happy land, that was isolated from the rest of the world.  She spent her life willing to die for love and when love let her down, she saw death as her only alternative.  She lived in shame because her man left her for another and in this beautiful place that is filled with peace and harmony, she would find her eternal peace.

Once she was safely ensconced inside these sacred walls, she started her journey of inner exploration and discovery.  She went to the Snow Mountains where she discovered the key to eternal life and that is when she realized that she was not to blame for losing love.  She realized that she could start over and find a new l0ove that would be stronger than the one she lost.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See? Picture prompt Image credit Timur Kozmenko.

Forgetting Things

It is on the tip of my tongue and I am sure that it will come to me, as it feels like it is right at my fingertips, but alas now it is gone.  This happens to the best of us, although David Bowie had a big hit with his ‘Golden Years’.  Did you ever have one of those days where you are shampooing your hair and then you remember that you just did this a minute ago.  Lately I have been having a hard time dealing with my short-term memory loss, and on top of that, I’m trying to deal with this short-term memory loss.

I met her right there on the platform next to the tracks, but now I can’t even recall her name.  Many of the details are still clear, as she walked up to me and whispered that she had not kissed anyone since the Covid-19 pandemic and she wondered if she was losing her touch.  She asked me if it would be OK for her to kiss me, and since she was smoking hot, I agreed, removed my mask, put my arms around her and planted one on her lips.  She thanked me after we kissed and she explained that she only said that to me to try and make her ex-boyfriend jealous, but to her surprise the guy who she thought was her ex, as she looked at him from behind, turned out to be somebody else when she finally saw his face.

I told her that it was nice to meet her and when she said “Goodbye”, I told her, “Oh, you’ve got something on your lip”, and she said, “Really?  Where?”, that is when I moved in to kiss her again and said, “Right here”.  She wiped off her lips and said, “Its all gone now, but maybe I could get another one”.  I obliged and we dated for about a month and I can’t for the life of me remember why we broke up.  Recent I went for a new Covid-19 test and now my smile looks out of place as the test showed that I had picked up that new strain of the coronavirus, the one with the more contagious mutations.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See?

Don’t Forget To

I picked up a side job, house sitting for my neighbor, as she heard about the impending hurricane and she said she was bugging out.  She wrote down all of her instructions for me and then she went around her house explaining everything.  She has a cat called Dixie and she told me that Dixie gets fed twice a day and that I must make dure that she has fresh water and treats and she showed me how to clean her litter box.  She showed me her emergency radio and the candles which she kept on her patio in her screened-in lanai and she said that the radio would give me alerts on how bad the storm was going to get.

At the first sign of a storm, I was to take her radio back inside of her house and also bring in her plant.  Pretty simple, feed the cat and water the plant and call her if there were any problems.  I am only getting paid $15 a day, but this is a cake job.  She was going to head north and west to her sister’s house to ride it out and then she would return.  She showed me the alarm system and handed me the key and before she left, she said, “Don’t forget to sing to my plant when you are watering it”, but there is no way in hell that is happening.

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See? Picture prompt Image credit Shche – Team @ Unsplash.

The Waning Gibbous Moon

Roy said, “Look at those three cranes flying past the waning gibbous moon, isn’t that a lovely sight this evening?”  Rachel replied, “Are you sure those are cranes and how do you know that is a waning gibbous moon?”  Roy said, “Their long necks, long legs, and very broad wings tell me that they are cranes and because of their shorter beaks, they are not herons, egrets, or storks.  Although you may think of me as a lunatic, I am sort of an expert on the moon.  Everybody knows that the first man on the moon Neil Armstrong said, ‘That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’, but I actually wrote the words for the second man Buzz Aldrin when he stepped onto the moon.   Most people think he said, ‘Wow, it really is made out of cheese’, but he actually said, ‘Beautiful view. Magnificent desolation.’

After a full moon, the moon starts becoming less illuminated again, waning toward the last quarter moon, then finally, another new moon.  This is the last day of the waning gibbous moon and we have been in this phase with 56% illumination since December 1st, so tomorrow we will get to 45% and be in the last quarter.  Gibbous means that the observable illuminated part of the moon is greater than a semicircle and less than a circle.  Like the Earth, half of the Moon’s surface (the day side) is always illuminated by the Sun.  However, as the moon orbits the Earth, the sunlit portion that can be observed varies through the course of the month as the Moon moves around us.

There is no such thing as moonlight, as what you see is actually sunlight reflecting off the moon’s surface.  Our moon doesn’t generate any light, it only reflects the light from our Sun which makes it change its shape every 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 2.8 seconds as the moon will go through its 8 phases.  Moon phases represent the names given to points in its orbit around Earth.  Each phase lasts for only an instant as the moon is constantly moving.  Starting out from what is called a new moon, (the first moon phase which is when the moon’s surface looks dark because the illuminated side is facing away from Earth) the moon appears to grow in the sky gradually increasing in magnitude or extent and that is called waxing.  This second phase of the moon is called the waxing crescent, where crescent refers to the curved shape similar to a banana or a pastry.  The next moon phase is called the first quarter and this term seems misleading to many, as half of the moon’s disc is visible from Earth due to the light from the Sun.  This occurs approximately one week after the new moon.  The moon continues to become the waxing gibbous, the full moon, the waning gibbous, the last quarter and then the waning crescent.  As Mr. Miyagi said, “Wax on, Wane off”.

The primary phases of the Moon cycle are the new moon, the first quarter, the full moon and the last quarter.  To the naked eye, the full moon lasts about three days, but in reality, it is a full moon for just an instant before it begins to wane.   Since the phase cycles of the Moon are almost always shorter than a full calendar month, (February being the exception) the phase of moon that occurs at the start of the month usually occurs again before the end of the month.  As a result of this, every 2.7 years, the full moon phase will occur twice in the same month and this is known as the Blue Moon.  In an astrological sense, 2.7 years is not an irregular occurrence, but the phrase, “Once in a blue moon” is used for something that rarely happens.

It is easy to determine a new moon, a full moon, a crescent moon and a gibbous moon, but if you have not been watching it growing or shrinking, then it may be hard to figure out what phase it is in.  The Moon goes around the Earth from West to East, so the side illuminated by the sun will move across the face of the Moon from West to East.  The Moon rises in the east and sets in the west, but it goes across the sky a little slower than our Sun.  The Sun marches across at 15 degrees per hour, while the Moon is moving at 13.5 degrees, so even they are both going the same way across the sky, the moon is losing ground.

You can tell if the moon is waxing or waning based on when it sets or rises.  If you can see the moon at sunset), then it’s waxing.  If the moon rises just before sunset, then it’s waning.  If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, the part of the waxing moon that is in shadow will be on the left, and when the moon is waning, the shadow part is on the right.  If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, the shape is reversed.  Look to see which side of the Sun the shadow is on.  If it’s to the East (late in the day it will look like it’s above the Sun, early in the day it will look like it’s below the Sun) then it’s Waxing.  If it’s to the West (late in the day it will look like it’s below the Sun, early in the day it will look like it’s above the Sun) then it’s Waning.  Another way to find out if the moon is waxing or waning would be to hold a finger up to the moon, making sure that you’re looking at the North of the Moon and that is if you’re in the northern hemisphere.  If your finger against the moon makes a lowercase “b” shape then it is getting bigger (waxing).  If your finger makes a “d” shape then the moon is decreasing, or getting smaller (waning).  So, is there anything more that you want to learn about the moon Rachel?”

Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See? Picture prompt Image creditLolame @ Pixabay.