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.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Unspoiled Booty

I visited the MD on Thursday per hubby's request, but I thought the exam was a waste of time and money as his assessment of my PITA or booty pain was inconclusive at best. He determined that my symptoms represented classic sciatica and promptly prescribed the following: No more long car trips in the near future (okay, Illinois, I'm a captive audience), twice daily stretching exercises, no heavy lifting (hubby is hereby sentenced to grocery shopping with me for a while), heat pack on the affected area (hmm, sounds good), and drugs (of course; what else are MDs good for?) which include Feldene and Flexeril. I am following the first four instructions faithfully, but in all good conscience, I cannot continue taking the drugs. The Feldene is not as effective as ibuprofen, and it produced some heartburn. The Flexeril (taken at bedtime) promptly knocked me out, but it gave me brain fog the next morning. I'm probably already perilously low on brain cells. I don't need to lose any more. Luckily, I couldn't find a local pharmacy open Thursday evening, so I didn't suffer any ill effects until Saturday. Friday (July 4), we decided to visit some fairly local attractions: Stoneface in the Shawnee National Forest (Saline County) and The American Fluorite Museum in Rosiclare.

We found this site on the way to Rosiclare by consulting a book we purchased about ten years ago, Fifty Nature Walks in Southern Illinois, written by Alan McPherson and published in 1993. Unfortunately, hard economic times and a federal policy of "letting things go" have rendered the trails nearly impassable. There seems to be a Catch-22 mentality operating here. Visitors are welcome but may be discouraged by the roughness of the terrain.

We found the site with some difficulty. Apparently, the local kids must take some perverse pleasure in removing directional signs from the road, and the Forest Service does not regularly inspect or service those signs or the roads leading to the trailhead.

We finally made it up to the top of the trail to view what we think might be the Stoneface. It doesn't look like the picture in the book, but the photo there was taken from an aerial vantage point.

Maybe it's a good thing the trail is difficult to negotiate. Otherwise, this monument to Josh's indiscretion might be situated on the relatively undisturbed rock face. We found this mess in the parking area, probably a favorite haunt for local youngsters. Josh, this is no joke. Clean it up!

Here are some specimens of the booty we discovered in the mining spoils at The American Fluorite Museum.

Hubby got me interested in minerals a long time ago (30 years, to be exact) when we first met. Both of his parents were avid gem and mineral collectors, and they encouraged his interest in geology, his profession for the past 28 years. We seem to have come full circle at this point in our life together. He was recently hired to explore for oil again in the Illinois basin, something he did way back in the early-to-mid-80s, before the price of oil plummeted and the oil industry crashed. Neither of us is happy about the high price of gasoline now, but we are thrilled that he has a chance to finally work again in a field that interests him and potentially will benefit our family finances.

Fluorite, a cubic, crystalline mineral, comes in many colors, including this lovely shade of blue. The color is produced by impurities in the mineral deposition. I rather think this specimen's beauty is enhanced rather than spoiled by its impurities.

Apparently, someone else thought the blue specimen was worthy of photographic depiction.

Per hubby, this is a "geologic map showing faults and folding of the subsurface, and the most prominent feature on the map is Hick's Dome, a large circular upheaval caused by igneous intrusives. The fluorite found here was created by minerals deposited over time in the cracks which opened up during a cataclysmic event precipitated by magma flow upwards through the rock layers."

I insisted on bringing home a few tiny specimens (pictured above) from the spoils pile outside the museum, and hubby obliged me by picking through it. Though the price seemed cheap to me (one dollar per pound), hubby says he remembers a time when his parents purchased museum-quality, fist-size and larger specimens from one of the Rosiclare miners for 25 cents a pound. That practice of profiting on company time would be grounds for dismissal in any business now, but back in the day many miners supplemented their incomes, and the practice was acknowledged but ignored by company officials. The price of fluorite then was high, profits were soaring, and a little moonlighting could be overlooked. Rumor has it that the cheap Chinese fluorite which flooded the market and eventually necessitated the closing of the mine may become too expensive to import because of rising fuel prices. Maybe the wheel has also finally come full circle for the economically depressed town of Rosiclare.


  1. I'm so sorry to hear that you are in pain and had to quit the massage program. I have a bad back too and have to avoid heavy lifting. I find physical therapy strengthening exercises I do at home really helpful and a massage (for me) - that's even covered by my insurance!

    Otherwise the national health in England is something I will miss - how sad that you have to leave Florida just for affordable medical care.

    How fabulous your hubby has introduced you to a whole new world. The same thing happened to me with my husband - that (and heavy lifting) is part of the joy of marriage.

    If it makes you feel any better, gas is even more expensive in England. It costs over $100 to fill the tank of our Subaru. I'm hoping these high costs will improve public transport and increase the popularity of alternate fuels.

    Your photos are lovely - how good that you got pleasure out of this trip. I admire your positive attitude.

  2. I've been to part of the Shawnee National Forest once--it's a beautiful area, so different from the flatlands of central Illinois. There was a time when I was young that I collected rocks; I remember fluorite being one of my favorite rocks. I had no idea there was a mining area and museum in southern Illinois.

    Strange how things do go in cycles.
    I hope the stretching and resting give you some relief from the pain.
    And thanks for the advice on the daylily; you weren't the only one to suggest leaving it.

  3. Sarah, I'm hoping to be able to return to the school in a few months. The types of massage that I would like to offer, pregnancy as well as various forms of energy work, would not present as much of a physical challenge for me as perhaps performing a deep tissue massage would. I think the profession is both fascinating and rewarding. I hope to be able to study it, practice it, and ultimately write about it. Thanks for offering comforting words.

    Rose, thanks for stopping by. The beauty of this area is one of its redeeming qualities. Did you know that Ernest Hemingway references Southern Illinois in his book Green Hills of Africa, with respect to mammoths traveling through here and leaving tracks? I haven't found any yet, but I will investigate...

  4. You mention your pain in passing before taking us on a lovely, albeit sad tour of a national park and showing us some lovely rocks. (I love pretty rocks! Put them in flower pots and enjoy them),

    I hope you find somebody who can help you. I'm sure as a masseuse you know about acupuncture and chiropractic and will look into some alternative medical treatments. Good choice about foregoing drugs. Seems that's all doctors know how to do today is whip our their prescription pads.

  5. Hi, WS. I'm glad you came by for a visit. Though I am not a therapist yet (sorry, but masseuse has some negative connotations for modern practitioners), I do know that there are better ways to manage pain than taking pills. Massage, of course, is one method, the best, as far as I'm concerned, especially when combined with the application of essential oils. Gentle exercise and stretching also work well for me. Sometimes I just have to walk through the initial ache, and things loosen up along the way. I think the best advice for me is something an orthopedic MD once told my dad when he had some shoulder pain: keep it mobile, man! Difficult advice to follow sometimes but ultimately beneficial.

    You mention that you like to put rocks in flower pots. My husband informed me that one should use caution when decorating around plants with rocks. Fluorite should probably not be placed with plants unless they are acid-loving. It should also not be used in aquariums because its acidic makeup would probably kill the fish. He said the best rocks to use for decorative purposes in the garden are the quartz type because they're inert. Sorry I'm so wordy in this reply!

  6. What a great entry. I live in this state and had no idea this was here.


  7. Thanks, MBT, for visiting from Chicago. We might be a little backwards economically and culturally here in SI, but we have an abundance of natural beauty and hospitality to share with the rest of the world. I hope you can visit this part of the state sometime. If you don't want to spend a fortune on gas, Amtrak has service from Chicago to Cardondale, a good base from which to start exploring the area.