As I was coming back home my last night’s sunset walk, my jaw dropped when I looked up at the sky at the Grayhawk Golf Course crossing. The sun had already set.  But the sky over Grayhawk was full of Firebirds. Just as I remember it at Christmas of 2008 (see this story and the photo below).

I did not want to ruin the photo I took last night by tracing the various firebird images. Because I see at least three of them in the sky. But I did provide an image of a mythical firebird which inspired Stravinsky to create his 1910 ballet “Firebird”

Here’s a synopsis of “Firebird”:

The “Firebird” ballet story is quite fascinating.  Prince Ivan, the central character, enters the magical realm of Kashchei the Immortal (left).  While wandering in the gardens, he sees and chases the Firebird (right). The Firebird, once caught by Ivan, begs for its life and ultimately agrees to assist Ivan in exchange for eventual freedom.

Next, Prince Ivan sees 13 princesses, with one of whom he falls in love (right). The next day, Ivan chooses to confront Kashchei to ask to marry one of the princesses; the two talk and eventually begin quarreling. When Kashchei sends his magical creatures after Ivan, the Firebird, true to its pledge, intervenes, bewitching the creatures and making them dance an elaborate, energetic dance (the “Infernal Dance”). The creatures and Kashchei then fall asleep; however, Kashchei awakens and is then sent into another dance by the Firebird. While Kashchei is bewitched by the Firebird she tells Ivan the secret to Kashchei’s immortality and Ivan destroys it killing Kashchei. With Kashchei gone and his magic broken, the magical creatures and the palace all disappear, and all of the “real” beings (including the princesses) awaken and, with one final fleeting appearance from the Firebird, celebrate their victory.

In Slavic/Russian mythology, Kashchei is also known as Koschei the Immortal or Koschei the Deathless (Russian: Коще́й Бессме́ртный), as well as Tzar Koschei. There is a wonderful magical tale associated with this creature.

Kashchei cannot be killed by conventional means targeting his body. His soul is hidden separate from his body inside a needle, which is in an egg, which is in a duck, which is in a hare, which is in an iron chest, which is buried under a green oak tree, which is on the island of Buyan, in the ocean. As long as his soul is safe, he cannot die. If the chest is dug up and opened, the hare will bolt away. If it is killed, the duck will emerge and try to fly off. Anyone possessing the egg has Kashchei in their power. He begins to weaken, becomes sick and immediately loses the use of his magic. If the egg is tossed about, he likewise is flung around against his will. If the egg is broken (in some tales this must be done by specifically breaking it against Kashchei ‘s forehead), Kashchei will die.


UPDATE FEB 17, 2018


I don’t know why or how, but I sort of sensed that this evening we might have another beautiful sunset here in Scottsdale. So I drove up to the Gateway Trailhead so I could get an unobstructed view of it. Sure enough, it was another gorgeous sunset.

Here it is, from beginning to end, including the sunset moment at 6:12 PM.


PS: Oh, and did I mention that I got a new iPhone 8 yesterday? So these were the first pictures I took with it. A sunset “test” if you like. 🙂

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