Friday, 13 February 2009

Paraskavedekatriaphobia ...

Fear always springs from ignorance.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


The word describing the fear of Friday the 13th, the title of this post, is a word derived from the concatenation of the Greek words Paraskeví (meaning Friday), and dekatreís (meaning thirteen), attached to phobía (meaning fear). This is a specialized form of "Triskaidekaphobia", a simple phobia of the number thirteen. There endeth the Wiki-reference, for what it's worth. Now let's get on with the reason for the post.

Since my perceptive readership will not have missed the fact that this is/was posted on Friday the 13th, I expect you want to know the reason. That's an easy one; I should have stayed in bed, like all discerning Paraskavedekatriaphobes probably did today!

Flashback. I remember the mild apprehension that Wyndham's Triffids induced in my youthful psyche, and even if I can say without fear of contradiction that that particular sci-fi hasn't troubled me as an adult, it appears there are lingering vestiges buried deep in my subconscious.

I am no 'tree-hugger', but I do enjoy their beauty and grace and will go to great lengths not to harm or destroy one. Nevertheless, on days when a high wind animates them more than their gentle rustling I can't help feeling that there is a malevolence about a tree when I am in close proximity to one on a windy day. Almost as if they want, like their sci-fi cousins the Triffids, to take a step in my direction and crush the life out of me. A bit fanciful? Perhaps!

The weather here in Portugal has taken a turn for the better. Bright sunlight and the temps into the high teens. But on the night of the 12th the departing wind decided to give us enough of a blow to remind us that it will return later in the year. The dog and I took our usual walk and were surprised by the amount of debris on the green and in the park. A couple of trees down and the remnants of the winter clothing of the eucalyptus trees strewn over just about every square metre of pathway.


Off with the old, on with the new.
Off with the old, on with the new.
Old shredded bark stripped away. New layers ready for the spring!


Walking the green, quite unconcerned, I gave silent thanks that all this happened during the night when we were safely tucked up in bed, and not now. Here is a poor resolution shot (phonecam, low-res) of one casualty ...


Right across my path.
Right across my path.


When I looked at this tree lying right across the path I and the dog normally traverse, I had this feeling that had the tree been a bit smarter, and a bit quicker in its movement, it might well have made short work of decapitating me. Darn, but a seed of doubt was sown in my mind as to whether the trees were out to get me!

The dog and I strolled on to the end of our walk, the place where the tramp usually pitched his tent, when there was an almighty crack behind us followed by a subdued thump where the branch of another tree hit the ground. Right on the spot where the dog and I had been only moments ago!

Jeez, these critters were getting smarter - and quicker!


The dog can speak volumes. I think he is telling me I am dumb to stay any longer!
The dog can speak volumes.
I think he is telling me I am a 'dumbass' to stay any longer!


There was no wind, the sun was shining, and all was right with the world. So you have to ask why that particular tree saved up that branch to hurl at me and the dog just then.

Paranoid? Perhaps! But here's fair warning; don't speak, or even think evil about the trees around you.

They know, you know ...

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