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.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Waves, Goodbye! Let Me Wait in the Tidal Pool

When I Consider How My Light is Spent
When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
"Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?"
I fondly ask; but Patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait."
--from John Milton's Sonnets, 1652?--

For some reason, I have always loved tidal pools. They represent a rest from the onslaught of time, but they are only a temporary respite, a place to catch one's breath. They are in-between areas. Most of my life has occurred in the in-between or interstitial places. I am always moving, sometimes by choice and sometimes not, but when the movement halts for a while I wait. I wait in traffic, on the phone while on hold, in the airport, on the plane, on the transport van, in the apartment. This jellyfish I found on Pensacola Beach Friday, my last day in Florida, would probably rather be moving freely about in the sea, doing its work of capturing prey and devouring it. The high tide has brought it ashore and deposited it in this pool. It waits until either the next tide takes it back to the sea or until the pool sinks into the sand and the sun and wind begin their dessicating work upon it.

This little man waits for no one. Before Sarah and I headed to the beach for my last look at the sea for a few months, we stopped by for a visit with Micah and his Grandma Martha. She takes care of him at his parents' home while they work.

He refused to ride in the stroller and insisted on stopping every so often to pick some wildflowers.

He and his dad's old dog Rocky led the way the whole time we were walking. Rocky suffers from arthritis in his golden years, but once he gets moving, he seems to be transformed to a pup again. I guess he takes his cue from his young master. I have noticed that some of my fellow bloggers are talking about the change of seasons, autumn, and dying, though not necessarily dying in the literal sense. This new season we are in, autumn, is another interstitial place, and I think that is why I like it so much. It is a time to rest, gather strength, and ponder the next growing season.

Another on the Same
Here lieth one who did most truly prove
That he could never die while he could move,
So hung his destiny never to rot
While he might still jog on and keep his trot,
Made of sphere-metal, never to decay
Until his revolution was at stay.
Time numbers motion, yet (without a crime
'Gainst old truth) motion numbered out his time,
And like an engine moved with wheel and weight,
His principles being ceased, he ended straight.
Rest that gives all men life, gave him his death,
And too much breathing put him out of breath.
Nor were it contradiction to affirm
Too long vacation hastened on his term.
Merely to drive the time away he sickened,
Fainted, and died, nor would with ale be quickened.
"Nay," quoth he, on his swooning bed outstretched,
"If I may not carry, sure I'll ne'er be fetched,
But vow," though the cross doctors all stood hearers,
"For one carrier put down to make six bearers."
Ease was his chief disease, and to judge right
He died for heaviness that his cart went light.
His leisure told him that his time was come,
And lack of load made his life burdensome,
That even to his last breath (there be that say't)
As he were pressed to death, he cried, "More weight!"
But had his doings lasted as they were
He had been an immortal carrier.
Obedient to the moon, he spent his date
In course reciprocal, and had his fate
Linked to the mutual flowing of the seas,
Yet (strange to think) his wain was his increase.
His letters are delivered all and gone,
Only remains this superscription.
--John Milton, 1631--

I like the fact that John Milton seems intrigued and maybe just a bit disturbed by the contradictions imposed by time with its incessant shifts between movement and then stillness, work and then idleness. It should not be surprising that he felt that way. He spent most of his life on a rather large island, surrounded by the sea.


  1. Love this series and especially the sounds of the ocean..You gave me something to think about with this one...interstitial place..Hmmm...

  2. I love the beach. I miss my home state and the rocky beaches of Maine so much! Thanks for sharing, I wish I could smell the salt but the wind is nice.

  3. As I get older, time seems to beckon me to a certain place, I almost feel rushed, as if I should've been there by now. It's very odd and yet intriguing, mysterious, menacing and promising.

    Catholics call the in-between Purgatory. A cleansing place. I wonder if time stops there?

    I fell in love with the ocean when I was 17. When time meant nothing.

  4. I love the sight and the sound of the ocean! You can't ever get tired of watching it, can you?

  5. I haven't visited the ocean since I lived in Coos Bay many, many years ago.

    While I appreciate its beauty, it doesn't speak to me like it does to some. I guess I have too many generations of prairie farmer in my blood.

  6. I love tidal pools tool. You never know what you can find. Once the kids and I discovered a bright red star fish. I wish I had my camera. How nice it must be to be so close to the beach.

  7. I hope you're well and rested from your visit. Milton's words about illness, and your emphasis on in-between time, hint that you're concentrating on the part about "he could never die while he could move". Enforced stillness turns us inward and makes us concentrate on the present moment.
    Your love of autumn tells me you don't fear change or death and I love that about you.

  8. Michelle, thank you. The ocean always gives me a lot to think about. It somehow renews my spirit, I guess, with all of that endless energy.

    Glad I could remind you a little of home, Tina. The Gulf coast isn't quite the same as Maine's rocky coastline, but it'll do in a pinch for satisfying that sea craving. The water is not usually that rough. We have actually been able to kayak along the beach when the water was as smooth as glass.

    TC, I always feel like I'm a day late and a dollar short. Would you want time to stop in Purgatory? The very name seems unsettling, like taking syrup of ipecac. Time at 17 for me meant freedom from high school. I could not wait to be out of that place. I guess I must have fallen in love with the ocean when I was born on Okinawa.

    You're right, Katarina. It has a fascination that never gets tiresome.

    Marnie, I've lived in the Midwest for more than half my life, and I can swear I can smell the ocean sometimes in the air and see the waves rippling on a field of corn. I guess once the sand gets between your toes, it's hard to forget it and leave it behind you.

    Sarah, we live close enough to visit a few times a month but not too close to feel threatened by flooding. For some reason, we never find starfish on Pensacola Beach. When we used to live on Anastasia Island on the Atlantic side of Florida, we would find them fairly often. They are fascinating creatures.

    WS, I don't know about not fearing change or death, but I don't fret much about them. It wouldn't do me any good since they're inevitable. I just can't stand uncertainty or instability, even though I've even created a fair share of both of them for myself and others. Thanks for the love.

  9. We've seen Atlantic tidal pools in North Carolina and Pacific tidal pools at Ruby Beach in Washington State - rare enchanted visits after long voyages, but never part of what we think of as real life. Even if you can only get there slowly or with great effort, just having them as possible places to be is pretty wonderful, Walk2Write!

    My pedestrian mind read Milton's poetry and wondered if he knew about sharks.... creatures that must be in motion or die.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    PS Loved the youtube!

  10. Hi, Annie. I finally read Bob's post about the kissing bugs. Eww! Disgusting! Those things are pretty scary. A tidal pool on Pensacola Beach is kind of a rarity. I think the rough weather out in the gulf lately has carved out some new recesses in the beach, and the beach repair people have not had a chance to fill them in. Sadly, nature is not given much of a chance to exhibit her art work on a very public place like PB. Milton surely knew about sharks when he was younger and wrote the poem about the mail carrier. He must have forgotten them in his later years when he wrote the other one. Age has a way of clouding the memory, I'm finding out more all the time. Re: the YouTube, Dino sure loved the vino (or was it the martini?)...

  11. Deep poems, and fun pics of that sweet little boy, Micah! Such an adorable age!

  12. I love watching and hearing the ocean, though I don't get to see it very often.
    I think as we get older, we realize how much of life is spent waiting or in a transitional period. I know I keep thinking, what have I accomplished? Shouldn't I be making better use of time? Milton's sonnet is a good reminder: "They also serve who stand and wait."

    Welcome back to Illinois; you can enjoy the glorious change of seasons here!

  13. Thanks, Julie. He is so active now, it's hard to keep up with him. I'm sure my kids were just as rambunctious, but I must have forgotten as I got older. I may be ready to try that pumpkin soup recipe soon. I bought a beautiful one at the local orchard yesterday (I guess they grow the gourds too), and once I finish admiring it, I will be cutting it up for soup!

    Rose, it is good to be back with my husband. Even after 28 years together, we still have that spark between us and miss each other terribly when apart. I can sense autumn in the air even though the temps say it's still summer. Hope you enjoy the season too!

  14. We used to live in Mary Esther next to Fort Walton Beach; Destin and Pensacola were two favorite beach areas of ours to visit....this film of the ocean sights and sounds brings such solace to the soul, and stirs such memories!

    I too am not an ocean-oriented person by nature, though--I love the mountains too much....rivers and creeks are my favorite bodies of water. But, I can appreciate the wonderful peacefulness of an ocean scene, and the smell of the ocean breeze. We always walked on the beach in the evenings, and watched the sun set....never ventured out onto the sand when it was hot and covered in tourists! :-)

  15. Hi, TTL. It's great to meet a new visitor. You're right. I have this love-hate thing going with the sea. It's so beautiful and seductive yet so threatening when stirred up. I guess that's why male poets/authors have always felt compelled to write about "her." Come to think of it, I don't know of many poems/books written about the sea by women. The Awakening by Kate Chopin comes to mind, but most of the action in it takes place on dry land, except for that all-important ending, of course. Female authors seem too timid to venture out very far and explore the depths.

    You know, between Destin/FWB and PB, I would have to choose the former as the favorite beach to visit, although PB was better when Fort Pickens was open. You could get away from the tourists there and just enjoy the peace and quiet.

  16. Interesting view on women writers and the sea...I had never thought about it! But, it seems like you are so right! I can't think of a single book that I remember that takes place largely on the sea, written by a woman....will have to make that a quest, and see if I can come up with some!

    You're right, Destin, with Fort Pickens, was the BEST place to get away!!! Nice to have you "aboard" on my Friends list!

  17. TTL, let me know if your quest proves fruitful. I would love to read a true sea novel written by a woman.

  18. Something to ponder on...interstitial.
    I've seen the ocean just a few times and it evokes so much awe in me that I'll never 'belong' there. I grew up in a beautiful hilly town and now live in a place with low hills so the mountains also fill me with awe and reverence.

    Always love to see your family shots especially with Micah. Out on a stroll, the family pet with you, picking wildflowers ...sweet joy!

  19. Thank you, Kanak. You're right, the mountains can be just as awe-inspiring but not quite as fearfully so as the ocean with its constant ebb and flow, give and take. The mountains suggest stability and strength to me. Of course, I've never been caught in a mountain snowstorm, avalanche, or landslide, so I may be mistaken. Walking with Micah is a solace for sure.