per·i·pa·tet·ic
ˌperēpəˈtedik/
adjective
  1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
    Aristotelian.
noun
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Black? White? Brown Month? Pied Beauty Month!


Pied Beauty
(poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, pub. 1918)

Glory be to God for dappled things--
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls, finches' wings;


Landscape plotted and pieced--fold, fallow, and plough;


And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.


All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how??)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;


He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change;
Praise him.


Arlee Bird of the blog Tossing It Out, in his post dated 2-15-16, observes that in this month, known as Black History Month in the United States and Canada, much (maybe too much?) has been made of "black" history: 

"There is no doubt that the descendants of African diaspora have made important contributions throughout the world, but so have the peoples from many other cultures.  My preference is to become aware of as much history as I can absorb and have a very keen knowledge of the history that made my country of the United States of America what it is and to discern where it can go in the positive sense."

SAM has told me, and I find it interesting, that many job applications now have a new choice to fill in for the category "race." It's "two or more;" which, I believe, is as it should be. No one race can (or should) be claimed to the exclusion of (or preference for) any other one. There are unintended ethical, legal, and political consequences for making racial distinctions, as we all should know by now. We, as Americans, must acknowledge our differences but celebrate our unity--one nation, you know?


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Land o' Goshen!: Finding Hidden Explosions and 'Sunlight on the Garden' in Southern Illinois ('Egypt')



A "pebble pup" pores over a pile of mostly purple fluorite for sale that was extracted from a mine in Hardin County


Weekend before last, we traveled with a group of ardent rock hounds, members of the Southern Illinois Earth Science Club, to Hardin County. We were on a quest to find ancient, cryptoexplosive breccia and associated treasure, hiding for untold centuries under Hicks Dome and elsewhere nearby, that miners would eventually discover: Fluorite...



and chunks of iron. We raked and picked through a section of the leaf-littered forest for the tailings of a long-abandoned iron mine. An old iron furnace nearby that dates back to Civil War days helped to fire up my imagination and make me wax poetic in this land called Egypt...




The Sunlight on the Garden

The sunlight on the garden
Hardens and grows cold
We cannot cage the minute
Within its nets of gold,
When all is told
We cannot beg for pardon.

Our freedom as free lances
Advances towards its end;
The earth compels, upon it
Sonnets and birds descend;
And soon, my friend,
We shall have no time for dances.


  

The sky was good for flying
Defying the church bells
And every evil iron
Siren and what it tells:
The earth compels,
We are dying, Egypt, dying!...

(from the poem by Louis MacNeice, c.1937, 1938)


I found Mr. MacNeice's poem in my Norton Anthology of English Literature and was struck by the editors' comment that "in love with life's irreducible multiplicity, he [MacNeice] strives to embrace life's flux, despite an underlying sense of sadness and, sometimes, tragedy: 'All our games are funeral games.' " The editors note that he traveled to the United States at the beginning of World War II. I can't help but wonder if he ventured into Southern Illinois during his travels? The words of his poem certainly have an eerie sense of belonging here. 

The book club at our local library is at present reading Murder in Little Egypt by Darcy O'Brien. It's a true story of filicide, but I consider that it's also a story of community culpability. Mr. O'Brien's in-depth study of the history of this place called Egypt at the beginning of the book supplies the reader with building blocks for constructing a pyramid of plausibility: Tyrants/terrorists are, essentially, enabled by their communities. "When all is told, we cannot beg for pardon."

Monday, January 25, 2016

Secret Aging Man: What a Catch!

It was a dark and stormy night...but at least the redfish was biting!

You won't find redfish in Southern Illinois or Tallahassee (at least not live ones still in the water), and Secret Aging Man was sure chomping at the bit to catch one after our Christmas visit with Daughter and her husband. As soon as we dropped anchor (the Lance camper) at our spot in Navarre's Santa Rosa RV Resort, SAM hightailed it to the end of the fishing pier so he could drop some bait (live shrimp) in the Sound and try his luck. A few other hardy souls (including yours truly) joined him there as it began to rain. The rain held on and so did his luck. He caught the only fish of the evening and asked around if anyone had a cleaning table? No luck there, so he took matters into his own hands and used the bed of the trusty Dodge truck to filet the fish.


After our tasty supper of pan-fried fish, I asked him what he intended to do with the bloody remains on the bed of truck? Surely not let the rain wash it off? This RV resort is kind of classy. We felt like the Jed Clampetts (in reverse) of the camping world with our crater-dashed Dodge truck and little Lance truck camper. I'm surprised they even let us stay, what with all of the fancy rigs parked there. SAM just smirked a little and left me to tidy up our tiny camper kitchen. He was back a few minutes later and assured me that there would be no tell-tale signs of the redfish slaughter for any of the other campers to see come morning. This kind of camping comes with the convenience of a car-washing place nearby. My Secret Aging Man--what a catch!

A view of Navarre Beach from the fishing pier at Santa Rosa RV Resort

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Moving Forward But Still 'Lookin' Out My Back Door': Watching the Slow, Painful Death of the Illinois Oil Industry

Peaceful autumn scene from Lake Murphysboro State Park
The plummeting price of oil elicits barely a ripple of reaction from most Southern Illinoisans. They're not the ones who have lost good-paying jobs. Again. "Drilling for Oil in Southern Illinois?" No fracking way! Not now and maybe never again, if current conditions continue for too much longer. Experienced oilfield geologists, engineers, and drilling equipment operators are going the way of the dinosaurs. And now that sanctions on Iran have been lifted, even more oil from the Middle Eastern countries will flow like wine from California, glutting the market and gutting the oil industry here in Illinois and elsewhere in the United States.
One of the many sinkholes at Leon Sinks Geological Area
So what? you might say. Isn't it grand paying less at the pump? Cheap, cheap, cheap! Sure it is, until there's another oil embargo imposed on us (sheep, sheep, sheep) by those friendly folks over there in the Middle East. I'm sure there are still some people here in the States who remember the sinking feeling of waiting for hours in line for fuel only to be told there's no more of it to be had until the next shipment comes in, courtesy of those friendly folks over there in the Middle East.

Our trusty, crater-dashed Dodge truck and Lance camper
In that case, our trusty, crater-dashed Dodge truck and Lance camper might have to be turned into permanent yard ornaments or sold for scrap.


Lookin' out the back door of the Lance camper at Navarre Sound
And in that case, we (or any other camping folk) wouldn't dream of heading (moving forward) down the highway to Florida. Yuletide visit with Daughter and Son-in-law? Forget it. You'd better get used to lookin' out your back door because fuel is in short supply, and it's stay-cation from here on out. That is, if you still have a home or community in Southern Illinois in which to enjoy that stay-cation. Guess who pays a lion's share of income and property taxes in many counties around here? That's right. Those fricking-fracking oil producers and mineral right owners do, as long as there's income and oil property to tax.

Forward troubles Illinois
Lock the front door, oh boy!
Look at all the happy
Creatures dancing on the lawn.
Bother me tomorrow,
Today I'll buy no sorrow.
Doo, doo, doo,
Lookin' out my back door.

--John Fogerty/CCR

Friday, October 30, 2015

Comments Are On Again! Europeans: Beware of Cookies!

My version of Spanish eggs
Blogger has let me know on my dashboard that hiding cookies on my blog is a big no-no. Since I'm not sure that I understand how to properly warn my European friends that there may be cookies on my blog, let this post serve as my notice: There are cookies as well as other food items on this blog!

There. Consider yourself warned. Oh, and thanks to bloggers Mr. Geo and KaHolly (who has a quilt pattern giveaway going on, by the way) for letting me know you missed being able to comment on this blog. You should now be able to leave comments again if you so desire. Take some of my cookies along to share too...


Walking at Heron Pond in Southern Illinois: A Tale (or Tail) of Us Two "Sitties"

A reminder to tread as lightly but as often on those feet as possible: the rest of your body will thank you for it
The reflex is an only child
He's waiting by the park...

Sitting and working at the computer all day can lead to pain of the posterior, or PITA, as we acronymically refer to it around here. But--does the problem begin or even end with the tail? Bone, that is. If the evolutionists are correct, then our sitting so much, which is forcing the coccyx or remnant of our ancestral tailbone to remain constantly tucked under and out of the way, may cause it to just disappear altogether! Never fear! There are solutions. Reflexology and walking are here...and here...and here (see pictures above and below) to save the day.



The reflex is in charge of
Finding treasure in the dark...


No clover here--just lots of duckweed and cypress trees
And watching over lucky clover
Isn't that bizarre?

A friendly face (or two) along the trail at Heron Pond

Every little thing the reflex does...




The only time I seem small

They don't grow 'em like this anymore!

Leaves you answered with a question mark...

(Like what does that song by Duran Duran really mean? And why is SAM wearing a camouflage shirt while gesturing with a peace sign?)