I didn’t learn about the possible connection between “a parting shot” and “a Parthian shot” until just a few years ago. It seems that the Parthians who lived in a region in the northeast of what is now Iran, had a sneaky technique that worked very successfully for them in battle. They might be outnumbered four to one, but as long as they had a constant supply of arrows (which they always brought along to the battles), they could put their horsemanship and archery skills to good use.
Their tactic was to fake a retreat, understandable when they were outnumbered, and as the enemy fell out of their organized formation and pursued them, the Parthians turned to shoot at them with their large supply of arrows, and ended up winning many a battle this way.
This one (and many more) last shot as they (supposedly) fled, came to be their trademark “Parthian Shot,” and some believe that our modern expression “parting shot” derives its origin in this Parthian tactic.
Well, winter has taken a page from the Parthian history books and given us a Parthian shot this morning. After several warmish, springlike days, we woke up to this early morning scene.
Emma jumped up to her usual seat on the back of the couch to watch her favourite nature show of passing rabbits and eagles, and was dumbfounded. I heard her say, “What the …?”
The valley was socked in with a snow cloud.
But when the sun rose, a promising pink glow said, “Don’t worry, I’ll melt the snow off that willow in the front right of your picture. The pussywillows will still be there, unharmed.”
The birds are so happy that I refilled the feeders yesterday before it snowed.
Hang in there. Spring will come one day. I’m not going to be taken in by winter’s Parthian shot and go out there to shovel snow that will melt by tomorrow.