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.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Making the First One Last



The Butterfly wished for a bride; and as may well be imagined, he wanted to select a very pretty one from among the flowers; therefore he threw a critical glance at all the flower-beds and found that every flower sat quietly and demurely on her stalk, just as a maiden ought to sit before she is engaged; but there were a great many of them, and the choice threatened to become wearisome...

We traveled some miles this past Friday to our home in Florida. Thankfully, the price of gas was cheap, and our Dodge truck--a leftover from the drilling business we used to own--did not set us back too many of those green objects worked so hard for and disappearing more quickly than we could have ever anticipated. When Hubby and I married nearly twenty-nine years ago, though, times were tough then too for us and a lot of other people our age. We were young when we married, the first ones among our friends to tie the knot, and we have made it last while some of our friends have not been so fortunate. As you can see by the gauges pictured above, Hubby was driving responsibly on the Interstate highway, not speeding, and we had a few more miles to go before needing to fill up the tank or empty anything else. Hubby remarked that the last half of the tank always seems to disappear more quickly than the first half. How can that be? If a half is really half, then each one should last the same amount of time as the other one. Hubby replied that most fuel gauges somehow lose their calibration or whatever it is that keeps them honest in the beginning.

...The spring went by, and the summer drew toward its close; it was autumn, but he was still undecided...


At our exit from I-65, we noticed a new casino almost ready to open for business. These are heady days for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians and the town of Atmore, Alabama. According to one website I found, though, there are some officials at the state level who seek to block the Native Americans' quest to follow after the elusive American dream and make lots of that green stuff. I have to wonder why the Indians should not be allowed to claim their rights to the goodies, since they were the first ones here. They will, after all, be contributing to the dwindling tax base so greedily guarded and consumed by elected officials. There are not so many manufacturing jobs left to shore up that base anymore.

...And thus it happened that the Butterfly had no wife at all. He had been too long choosing, and that is a bad plan. So the Butterfly became what we call an old bachelor.

Saturday morning was devoted to unpacking a few things and taking a walk in the neighborhood. You can see the old reliable truck resting in our driveway not very far from the neighbors' maple tree, which was still looking colorful that day. After the brisk winds we have experienced the last couple of days, I do not expect to see too many of those colorful leaves left on the tree tomorrow morning. My little windmill palm seems out of place among these deciduous trees, but it just would not seem like Florida or home without it.

It also would not seem like home without this little guy coming to visit with his parents. Micah just cannot get enough of "guy" things like our lawn tractor. He insists on climbing up and pretending that he is in charge of lawn maintenance around here. If I had just half of his energy, maybe I could really get the lawn and gardens looking good. Our grass in Florida at this time of the year looks awful so Hubby seeded it with some annual rye. Maybe by the time we have to leave, we will have some kind of green stuff to admire here.

We had another turkey dinner on Sunday afternoon, believe it or not. This time, though, our son fired up his fryer in the barn behind our house, and we enjoyed the bird prepared in deep-fried fashion. It is surprisingly tasty and not at all greasy prepared this way.

Grandpa worked off a few calories pushing Micah around the back yard in another relic from our drilling days--the old workhorse wheelbarrow. It has carried more sacks of Quik-rete, Portland cement, and bentonite clay than we care to remember. I am glad it serves a more entertaining purpose these days.
It was late in autumn, with rain and cloudy weather. The wind blew cold over the backs of the old willow trees, so that they creaked again. It was no weather to be flying about in summer clothes, nor, indeed, was the Butterfly in the open air. He had got under shelter by chance, where there was fire in the stove and the heat of summer. He could live well enough, but he said, "It's not enough merely to live. One must have freedom, sunshine, and a little flower."

Our Peruvian lily and his beautiful mother love to watch Daddy cook. You can see our kayak behind them. We will be taking it back to Illinois in the truck along with a lot of other stuff I just cannot live without for a couple of years. I wish Micah and his parents and his aunt and a couple of kitties at home could join the stuff, but, unfortunately, these Beverly Hillbillies will be the only human objects traveling back to the Land of Lincoln. Somewhere in one of my comments on one of my posts, I remember telling someone that if wishes could move land masses, then Illinois would be on the Gulf Coast. Now that hurricane season is officially over for this year, I can say things like that without any fear of it coming true for a while.
And he flew against the window-frame and was seen and admired and then stuck upon a pin and placed in the box of curiosities; they could not do more for him.

Micah and I are fast becoming buddies. We both find humor in things we love--things like playing in the yard with Grandpa and working on getting our family back together again.
"Now I am perched on a stalk, like the flowers," said the Butterfly. "It certainly is not very pleasant. It must be something like being married, for one is stuck fast." And he consoled himself in some measure with the thought.
"That's very poor comfort," said the potted Plants in the room.
"But," thought the Butterfly, "one cannot well trust these potted Plants. They've had too much to do with mankind."
--from Hans Christian Andersen's short story "The Butterfly"--

15 comments:

  1. Yeah! You made it home safely and all is fine. And so many pictures-including one of you. I am so pleased to see it on here. Tell the family we say hello from the great gardening state of Tennessee!

    Love the butterfly/old bachelor literature. Let that be a lesson on choosing-right? One the Jimster should learn as he takes forever choosing anything. Congrats on 29 years-a true feat!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow...what a post...whirlwind of activity! Nice photos! Sounds like you are having a lot of fun! YEAH!!! How long will you be in Florida?????

    ReplyDelete
  3. Tina, eleven hours of driving is about all we can handle. I'm glad we're in L.A. (lower Alabama--another name for NW FL) instead of Snowbird Land (the other part of the state). You get just a taste of winter here which is more than enough for this old gal. Don't rush the Jimster. He has discriminating taste. He loves grilled shrimp, doesn't he? Hello to everyone there from the Sunshine State!

    Hi, Julie. We will be here for a few more weeks. Last vacation we will have for a while, so we are savoring every minute. This is Micah's second Christmas but the first one he will really get excited about.

    ReplyDelete
  4. A grandmother's love is what I think about every time I see little Micah's photos with you. Reminds me of the Welsh proverb in Nancy's -Soliloquy- blog and also on Carla's-A Mellow Life is a Good Life- blog. Must be wonderful to be back in Fla, even if its for a short while.

    And about excerpts from "The Butterfly", great read. It astounds ( it really does ) me every time I start reading whatever you include in your post. Great pics and I'll check out the link.

    Thank you for the comment on my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Kanak, I joke that my kids put the gray hairs on my head. Micah makes them all seem worthwhile. It never ceases to amaze me what kind of antics my grandchild can get away with that his parent was scolded for not that long ago. As for the Butterfly story inclusion, I've been puzzled lately about the younger generation's wait-and-see, taste-it-first-to-see-if-I-like-it attitude towards marriage. The young ones today seem afraid of making or keeping commitments. Guess it's not just today we see this paradigm shift occurring. What was once denounced in my parents' youth (divorce) is now as common as coffee or tea in the morning. I'm not condemning it. The shift just seems curious to me.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You are fortunate (me too) to have family you love and to be able to visit. Some people don't care to spend time with their relatives.
    It was a delight to see the pics of Micah - and of YOU - enjoying your visit.
    The butterfly tale has a bittersweet ending. I hope your Florida visit ends a bit more joyfully.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Lovely post..I have such mixed feelings about native gambling casinos. The Seneca Nation here has 3 casinos and they are making big bucks and it brings jobs and money for the region..but I don't see most of the Seneca benefiting except for a big health clinic, many are still poor and in need of medical care. A few make a lot of money. I hope some goes into preserving a wonderful heritage.

    Marriage..I don't see anything wrong with living together. I think one of the reasons so many marriages fail is that it's OK to fail. I will never forget what my grandmother told me when I told her I had left my husband. She said, "Good for you, I wish I could have done the same". And she should have. My grandfather was a nasty drunk.

    Grandchildren..Ohhhh...can't wait..

    ReplyDelete
  8. WS, thanks! I'm glad you have wonderful family connections too. I might not contact some family members as much as I should, but they are always in my thoughts, and the thoughts are positive and hopeful. I meant to say something else on your post with the scented geranium and never got around to it. It's so unusual for a bonsai plant and lovely. I have never seen leaves that small or delicate on a pelargonium, scented or otherwise.

    Michelle, I don't want to be presumptuous and say I know what's best for other people because I don't even know what's best for me most of the time. It is okay to fail, painful, but okay. It's tough having an alcoholic, abusive person in the family, I know. You still have to love the person, just hate what they are doing. Alcoholism is a disease, no matter what people may think. I'm glad you liked the post. Thanks for sharing something so personal. It means a lot to me that you would do that.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Long drives, with something to look forward to at their end, aren't too awful bad. I always dreaded the return trip, not that there wasn't any pleasantries to get back to. It's just that my heart's true home is in Kentucky and it breaks a little more each time I leave Kentucky behind.

    I also think gas seems to disappear faster once the gauge reads below half full. But then, so goes my life. I know, bad analogy or deep thoughts...I apologize...but you seem to draw them out. Or maybe it was the butterfly.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi, Walk2Write--I'm so glad you've had some time in Florida (and in the sun)--your grandson is adorable, and I love the shot of him on the tractor. I hope you have safe travels back.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hey, TC! Did you ever roll around on that KY bluegrass? Once you stain the seat of your pants with it, you can never seem to wash it out. At least, that's what I've heard. Glad the butterly scattered a little magic dust for you. I'm going to need it too.

    Thanks, Cosmo. I apologize for not being a more conscientious blogger and visiting you more often. I will make amends somehow.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wonderful Thanksgiving visit with your family! I loved reading about your trip back to FL and seeing the pictures. Glad you got there (and back) safely! Thanks so much for visiting my Skywatch and also other posts....I wanted to answer your question about the tree in one of the shots. I THINK it may be a black gum. It's in a neighbor's yard, anyway, and it looks a lot like the red-leaved tree in a previous post that I identified as a black gum. Thanks for coming by and commenting! I have a little "catching up" to do on your blog and will get there! :-) Sweet-looking little guy Micah, by the way! We sure miss our grandson too!

    Marie

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi, Marie! It's always a pleasure seeing the world from your perspective. The tree might be a black locust or Robinia pseudoacacia. I'm not sure either. Does it have fragrant white flowers in the spring?

    ReplyDelete
  14. W2W: I wonder if Marie can tell from this photo if her tree is a black gum?

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_VEg8vnyMJx4/SSNmMeKroOI/AAAAAAAAAlY/3d2iF5zoQR8/s1600-h/Black+gum_edit.JPG

    ReplyDelete