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.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

From the Guileless to the Gullible

My grief, quoth I, is called Ignorance,
Which makes me differ little from a brute,
For animals are led by nature's lore,
Their seeming science is but custom's fruit;
When they are hurt they have a sense of pain,
But want the sense to cure themselves again.
And ever since this grief did me oppress,
Instinct of nature is my chiefest guide.
I feel disease, yet know not what I ail,
I find a sore, but can no salve provide;
I hungry am, yet cannot seek for food,
Because I know not what is bad or good...
...Great Alexander made so great account,
Of Knowledge, that he oftentimes would say,
That he to Aristotle was more bound
For Knowledge, upon which Death could not prey,
Than to his father Phillip for his life,
Which was uncertain, irksome, full of strife....

--from "A Dream" by Rachel Speght, 1621--

I did not take the picture of Micah with the gull. I think it was taken by either my son or daughter-in-law, who e-mailed it to me this week. I forgot to ask who the photographer was. It's a spectacular picture, either way. He looks like he is so close to it that he could hop on and take flight with the bird. Things have a way of fooling adults, who really should know better. My grandmother (dad's mom) was reported to say that babies know everything there is to know about heaven and earth until the moment they say the word "rock." After that moment, they have to relearn everything they have forgotten. I'm not sure where Grandma's theory of learning originated. Maybe it's a fusion of the Platonic versus Aristotelian theories, the nature versus nurture debate that has been going on for centuries and can be found in religious as well as secular writings.

Do not be fooled into thinking this beautiful red plant is harmless. TC (The Write Gardener) knows exactly what it is from experience. His tabula, if it ever was rasa, now contains a lot of writing about this plant since first becoming acquainted with it.

Hubby and I spent a lot of time outdoors this past weekend in Southern Illinois. Kinkaid Lake near Murphysboro, Illinois, holds a lot of memories for us. We used to take a boat to this part of the lake and dive for little trinkets, sometimes even finding gold rings and other jewelry. Young people--usually inebriated--are known to congregate in this part of the lake during the hot summer months and sometimes shed more than just their jewelry. This picture of the dam and spillway makes the spot look fairly harmless, at least this time of year. Probably after today, the dry side of the dam will look anything but dry. It has been raining steadily all day, and it doesn't take long for the lake to fill up from the surrounding hillside runoff.

When we lived nearby, there were frequent reports of slips, falls, broken limbs, and even drownings in the lake and particularly on or around the spillway.

I guess the natural beauty of the area is irresistible to most people who either don't know or choose to forget the natural danger always present there.

Hubby and I picked a good day to explore the spillway. We could choose our path on the rocks, carefully avoiding the ever-present slippery spots and pools of water.

After climbing up the spillway and crossing the barrier fence at the top, we walked on top of the dam to reach another path that might not seem readily apparent to anyone unfamiliar with the area. The Kinkaid Lake trail is all but forgotten, and it seems to be an intended outcome. Concrete barricades block most access, and signs--if they ever were in place--are no longer available to point the way.

To seasoned hikers and former residents like us, a lack of signage is no problem.

We found the trail and a view of the lake from a bluff high above it.

I thought for a moment that I had found some more gold treasure, but this time it was hidden in the trunk of a tree. The memories must have really been working overtime at this point on our hike. Of course, there is treasure in this fungus, if you care to think of it as a valuable, renewable resource on this planet, slowly doing its work of decomposing living matter.

I guess Hubby felt like he had to prove his youthful vitality after finding the fungus. You will never find moss growing on this rolling stone. Maybe fungus, though. We all have it in our bodies in some form or other. Lovely thought, hmm?

The day after visiting Kinkaid Lake, we took a shorter walk at Rend Lake and found this sign greeting us at the beginning of the bike trail. We have been warned, and now we know what that little sign on the trail we saw earlier this year was all about. I like to think that knowledge is power and a way for the imagination to take flight.

Seagulls, as you know, never falter, never stall. To stall in the air is for them disgrace and it is dishonor. But Jonathan Livingston Seagull, unashamed, stretching his wings again in that trembling hard curve--slowing, slowing, and stalling once more--was no ordinary bird. Most gulls don't bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight--how to get from shore to food and back again. For most gulls, it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight. More than anything else, Jonathan Livingston Seagull loved to fly. This kind of thinking, he found, is not the way to make one's self popular with other birds...
--from Richard Bach's novella Jonathan Livingston Seagull--


  1. I agree, that is an awesome picture of Micah. I also like the passages and love the way you put life together with-well-life, such as with Jonathan Seagull. Such good writing and nothing wrong with a bit of fungus:).

    Looking forward to meeting up on Sunday. Hope hubby still has the time off. Just email me or call my cell. tina ttyl

  2. Forgot to say, I KNOW exactly what that red plant is too. Gave me the creeps when I saw. As pretty as it is, stay away from it. Unfortunately, poison ivy just loves the garden.

  3. Apparently I'm one who is not bothered by poison ivy;) For that I am very grateful!

    The scenery is very beautiful. I can see how easy it would be to fall on a slippery spot on the spillway.

  4. That was a nice walk along the spillway and old trail...Sometimes those old trails are more attractive for the lost/mysterious aspect they take on. I will have to get a couple more hikes in here before deer hunting season. Maybe I will try some winter trails this year...

  5. Thanks, Tina. Glad you liked the post. Getting a new picture of Micah always gives me a lift, especially when he is at the beach. Believe me, I'm going to be enlarging that picture and hanging it on the wall so I can focus on it instead of the cold this winter!

    Marnie, you are definitely in the minority when it comes to poison ivy and fortunately so. I'm glad it turns that color this time of year because it's easier to avoid while walking in the woods. The spillway is still slippery even when not wet. We were very cautious while walking on it.

    Chris, thanks for stopping by and commenting. The barricades in front of the trail are enough to discourage four-wheelers but apparently not dirt bikes. We found quite a few mountain bike and motorcycle tire tracks on the trail. Actually, they do serve a purpose for hikers. They keep the trail clear of brush and vines like the poison ivy. With the shortfall in state and federal funds lately for park service, I think they are doing us all a favor. Whoever is riding out there is not abusing the privilege or the environment.

  6. W2W: Those were some neat shots. I loved the seagull and was really fooled. That was perfect timimg. I often get great shots completely by accident.

  7. The shot of your son and the gull is amazing! To me, it looks like he's holding the gull in his hands. -Just great!

  8. Absolutely beautiful photos! Especially Micah and the gull! :)

  9. FG, thank you, but I can't take credit for the gull photo. By the way, what was the construction crew building in the shot you posted?

    Thanks, Katarina. I hope your daughter enjoyed her festivities. I wish I could find the rose cultivars you talk about on your blog. I have never seen such beautiful roses.

    Hi, Teach, and thank you. You seem like a very busy lady with all of your blogs and teaching responsibilities. I'm glad you stopped by. I have read the Great Gatsby several times and somehow overlooked the part about the bridge. A case of Midwesterner missing the mise-en-scene, I guess.

  10. Your posts are so thoughtful and complete. I really enjoy how your bring together photos, poems, stories..

  11. Nice shot of the beautiful "gold" fungus!!! I would have been so excited to find it there!

  12. As usual, I get here (and there, and there) rather late. Most of the time I'm eight, nine or twelve comments down. But what bearing does that have on anything? I'm here now, yes?

    When I first looked at that photo, I thought Micah had hold of each wing. I was a little worried that the gull had tried to attack the little guy. Gulls can be aggressive (I remember being dive bombed on more than one occasion while standing topside watch as our sub pulled into and out of Charleston harbor).

    Regarding Toxicodendron radicans, it was more of a re-acquaintance a couple of years ago. I heard then it was four times as potent and found it to be painfully true.

    I wonder why your paternal grandmother chose the word "rock" when spoken by a child to represent some sort of major turning point? Interesting, as Spock would always say. (I suspect Benjamin Spock said it a lot too.)

    When you said "dive," did you mean with air tanks and other such diving gear as goggles and flippers? Or did you just plunge in, hold your breath, open your eyes and look around like I used to do in farm ponds?

    Like your husband, I too can still swing on a grapevine. I think I'll always be able to. That is until, empirically speaking, my ignorance becomes grief.

  13. W2W,
    Amazing photo of Micah! He actually looks as though he's holding both wings!
    I love the way you write about the places you go to. Many of your posts are a perfect blend of poetry, nature and family. Beautiful photos. Loved the one of your vine-swinging, non-moss gathering rolling stone too!

  14. This was a very fun post to read. Thank you.
    I enjoy the way you add literature clips. Hiking along with you I felt as if I was traveling on your shoulder, listening to your thoughts and seeing your beautiful world.

  15. Lovely post. I think the fungus looks like gold coins....perhaps some "little person" buried his treasure in that tree, and the magic was lost and it became this lovely fungus.

  16. Michelle, you infuse your postings about nature with literature, and it draws me into your site. Maybe we are trying to invoke some Romanticism. It may be time for some again. Everything in this universe cycles...

    Julie, so I'm not the only one who gets excited with a find like that! Are we strange? Definitely not!

    TC, you're not out of step. Thanks for joining the dance! You were a submariner? It would be fascinating to read your (gardener's) perspective of life lived below the salt. I wonder if there have been any experiments done with growing plants on board a submarine. The effects of the "confinement" on the plants would be interesting to watch and correlate with human studies. The poison ivy's scientific name sounds like a good one for an alternative band. How do you like the Nickel Creek music, by the way? I think the band members hail from Murray, KY. I'm not sure why Grandma thought "rock" was magic. I never got to meet her, and my dad was not clear about what it signified. I actually did not "dive." Hubby and son did, sans equipment, other than a mask. I am too much of a chicken to risk facing the giant fish living in that lake. My son once caught and had mounted a Muskie that was about four feet long. Those puppies have some teeth! The "fence" at the top of the spillway was installed after the lake was stocked with muskellunge to prevent them from falling over the spillway. My husband should have known better than to start swinging like a monkey in front of me wielding a camera. I'm glad he doesn't mind acting silly, though. It's one of the reasons I love him so much.

    Kanak, thank you! I can't wait to see the little guy again. We are planning a trip to Florida sometime in December, so I'll just have to look at photos until then. He is beginning to chatter a little on the phone and gets an intelligible word in once in a while. Mainly he just wants to play with the buttons on the phone when he gets it close.

    Sherry, you're welcome to sit on my shoulder anytime. Hopefully, you will get to see another blogger--Tina--through my eyes soon. God willing and the creek don't rise, we are planning to meet and do a little hiking (and eating!) at another S. Illinois site.

  17. TTL, I like your idea! Everytime we walk in the woods, we get the feeling we are being watched even though we know there aren't any other "people" nearby. Maybe it's little forest dwellers making sure we aren't stealing anything. We never do, by the way, although I have seen evidence of plants being removed from different sites we have visited. Very naughty, indeed! If I ever catch someone doing it, there's no telling what I might say or do. Tawanda!

  18. W2W, the photos taken on your hike are beautiful as always. A good lesson here--to pay attention to warnings and not to be fooled by appearances. Hmmm, didn't Macbeth stress that very theme over and over?

    I have become all too familiar with those red leaves, too. Unfortunately, I thought I was like Marnie and was immune to it---until this spring.

  19. Ah, I'll never forget what poison ivy looks like. Once learned from nasty childhood experience, that's a lesson you don't ever forget.
    I love when you take us along on one of your long walks! I also love the soundtrack you provide.
    Another lesson you don't have to remind me about is respect for slippery rocks and water. It's an easier lesson to forget, especially looking at your seductive pictures.

  20. Rose, thank you. Macbeth the character apparently did not take the warning to heart and trusted the appearance that his pecking-hen, social-ladder-climbing Queen had it all together upstairs. Shakespeare's own experience with hormonal women must have played a part in this script, don't you think? Foolish man, that Macbeth! Did your encounter with the poison ivy take place on a trail or in the garden? I never had a problem with it until I was about 17 and was helping my parents clean out a ditch in front of their property. My mom and I just started yanking out the stuff, thinking it was something harmless, and ended up covered in itching, oozing welts that persisted for weeks. I learned my lesson early.

    Weeping Sore, if only all lessons about life were as easy to learn as an experience with poison ivy. Sorry the pictures seem seductive. The beauty of the area just begs to be portrayed. That's why I thought some warning was in order. Middle age will have that kind of effect on a blog, tempering the thrills of life with a little nasty reality. Brings you down to earth, so to speak. I don't think it's a matter of negativity, just a case of being realistic. Maybe I should re-read Oscar Wilde's essay The Decay of Lying. It might help me understand my change in attitude lately.

  21. "Getting older is not so bad after all."

    Not when there's folks like you to share critical theory with. ;~)

  22. TC, that thought came about when I was taking a field botany class my sophomore year of high school. I had no idea that growing older could be so painful (or expensive!). Oh well, it's not so bad if you consider the alternative. I can see I'll have to watch my p's and q's with the critical theory stuff now that you know my dirty little secret. Actually, I only had one class, but what a class and what a teacher!

  23. Fantastic pix of Micah with the sea gull. I've never seen a pix so perfect. I would enlarge it also. I loved being on the walk with you to see all that beauty.

  24. I think I'd enjoy taking a botany class, as long as there were no tests. ;~)

    (I don't see your contact info, email?)

  25. What gorgeous spots you have for hiking and strolling!

    Your little guy is adorable. I can imagine how much you must miss him. My grandson moved to the east coast with his mamma, and I miss them terribly.

  26. How can such a pretty red leaf do so much damage to the skin? Posion ivy seems to be the first thing to turn a pretty vibrant red color here in our area of GA....

    It looks as though the gull is waiting for a hitch hiker to take hold of the reins! Great moment in time captured....

    For a minute there, I thought I saw George of the Jungle... tee hee...

  27. Thank you, Lola! I was so glad to see you posting on Tina's site. I hope you liked it so much you will start your own blog. We all sure have enjoyed your perspective on gardening. Everyone's is a little different and so interesting to learn from.

  28. Whoops! I meant to post all of my comments together. TC, you get tested on everything anyway, whether you get a grade or not. I thought since I liked botany so much in high school that college course work would be a breeze. Not! Scared the xylem right off me. Learned a few things, though. Very few. Regarding the e-mail address, check your inbox.

    Hi, GG, and thanks for visiting! If wishes could move land mass, Illinois would be on the coast right now, and I would be playing on the beach with Micah.

    Hey Skeeter, did you have a great time on your vacation? I hope you got to relax and enjoy yourself. Poison ivy is good for something (birds maybe?), otherwise why would it be here? Sea gulls are our version of Santa's reindeer down in Florida. Just don't look up if you hear bells jingling in the sky. I'll tell George he's a great swinger. Oh wait, that's not a very appropriate term for a husband, is it?

  29. Relax on vacation? Are you kidding? It was rush here, rush there, rush here and rush there! The only rest I got was on the drive home from TN. I slept most of the journey; I am still not sure how the Saint got us home without me telling him how to drive. lol..

    I could not sleep on the drive from VA to TN as it was way too pretty with colorful trees and mountains to view! Rain on the way to VA from GA so a bit stressing with no sleep, not even in the noisy hotel with trucks whizzing by our window! argggg, Bad choice of hotels Saint, I tried to tell you but nooooo, the perfect cheap hotel for my cheapskate Saint... arggggg...

    George is just a swinging.... tee hee…

  30. I was going to say, so you went to Mt. Rushmore, but I guess not since that landmark is not in TN. Those saints of ours are pretty reliable when it comes to moving our masses (not land) around. Our wish is their command, and the pendulum swings back and forth. Wonder where it's at now? Time. Aargh!

  31. Ha! Took me a minute but I get it. Too funny:)

  32. A very interesting and beautiful picture of the baby with the seagull. It would make a great wall picture. I like to read your posts. Take care. T.

  33. Thanks, Titania, for visiting and commenting. We just moved into our new place this past weekend, and I have a lot more wall space to play with now. Enlarging the picture of Micah is on my list of things to do in the next few days. Once I get a little more organized, I will get back to blogging and visiting everyone, including you. Thank you for the encouraging words.

  34. I just found your blog and... WOW!!! This is a great place you have here! Love the pics. Well the poison ivy one brought back some childhood memories I'd rather forget (I'm extremely sensitive to this plant!) but still, Wow! :-)

  35. Thanks, Greenjeans! So you're another Florida gardener, only you get to actually be in Florida. I'm definitely going to be visiting you, at least on your blog. After this moving-in week, I should have a little more free time to visit and catch up on everybody's posts. See you later!