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.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

One Foot in Front of the Other

When descends on the Atlantic
The gigantic
Storm-wind of the equinox,

I know. It is almost time for the winter solstice, not the autumnal equinox. Hurricane season is over for 2008. Thank God for putting cycles in place for us. Otherwise, this roamin' idiot would not have been able to go kayaking with Hubby the day before the latest storm hit. No, I am not talking about any drastic change in the weather here in Florida. It has been quite peaceful lately, chilly maybe, but relatively quiet.

Landward in his wrath he scourges
The toiling surges,
Laden with seaweed from the rocks:
From Bermuda's reefs; from edges
Of sunken ledges,
In some far-0ff, bright Azore;
From Bahama, and the dashing,
Surges of San Salvador;
From the tumbling surf, that buries
The Orkneyan skerries,
Answering the hoarse Hebrides;
And from wrecks of ships, and drifting
Spars, uplifting
On the desolate, rainy seas;--

Ever drifting, drifting, drifting
On the shifting
Currents of the restless main;
Till in sheltered coves, and reaches
Of sandy beaches,
All have found repose again.

Wednesday, we went kayaking on the northern reaches of the Escambia River. From my position in the bow of the boat (yes, those are my feet prominently featured above), I called my oldest brother to wish him Happy Birthday and let him know that I was going to be registering for graduate school classes at SIU. He was happy for me and encouraged me to follow my dreams. On Thursday when Hubby called the office in Illinois to see how things were going, his dream and mine suddenly turned into a nightmare and galloped away, leaving us in a bit of a shock. I am sure you have noticed the price of gasoline dropping steadily. Well, the same thing has been happening to the price of oil. Exploration has come to a screeching halt in the Land of Lincoln. The promises of yesterday have changed as quickly as the tide. It was extreme low tide on the river in the afternoon while we were out and about. You can see the grass moving with the current. We noticed things like sunken boats--leftovers from Ivan and Dennis in 2004 and 2005--and reconstructed bridges. Highway 90 soared high above us as we leisurely paddled the kayak back and forth along the river. Interstate 10 was completely severed by Ivan, and even this bridge required major work to get it back into shape and fit for travel again. I traveled its span quite frequently during 2006 and 2007 while attending the University of West Florida and finishing up my B.A. in English there. I stopped by the English department on Tuesday to say hi and ask permission to put up flyers. We were seeking a roommate for our daughter to offset some of the expense of owning a home here and renting one in Illinois. We had just moved into the house on Lake of Egypt the day after Halloween. Spooky, now that I think about it.

So when storms of wild emotion
Strike the ocean
Of the poet's soul, erelong
From each cave and rocky fastness,
In its vastness,
Floats some fragment of a song:

From the far-off isles enchanted,
Heaven has planted
With the golden fruit of Truth;
From the flashing surf, whose vision
Gleams Elysian
In the tropic clime of Youth;

Hubby had high hopes at this time last year. He has always been the optimist in this family and willing to take chances on promises. From his youth, he has been a very trusting person. After all, a promise is a promise, right? I guess bottom lines and plunging oil prices have a way of changing things like promises of employment status.

The shock is beginning to wear off, I guess. At least I am able to write somewhat comprehensibly today. I like the name of this boat we passed by on Wednesday, the day we went kayaking on the river and up the bayou, not using paddles to move ahead but our feet instead.

Do I see clouds in my coffee this morning? No. I like it black and strong, at least two cups of it.
From the strong Will, and the Endeavor
That forever
Wrestle with the tides of Fate;
From the wreck of Hopes far-scattered,
Floating waste and desolate;--
Ever drifting, drifting, drifting
On the shifting
Currents of the restless heart;
Till at length in books recorded,
They, like hoarded
Household words, no more depart.

--from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "Seaweed"--


  1. OMG! One of your best posts ever, but so melancholy, and for good reason.

  2. I thought I was being hopeful. I'll try harder next time. At least now I can have a real garden blog! Thanks, Tina, for your encouragement. I'm just sorry I won't be going to the Spring Fling Thing in Chicago with you. If you ever get to visit NW FL, you know you have a place to stay.

  3. I just read 'Making the first one last', thinking it was your most recent post - started to comment - then realized there was a newer one.

    Reading them one after the other is staggering for the reader - so how wild a ride it must be for the writer.

    Good luck in setting a course for other enchanted isles with your shipmate, Walk2Write, using those 29 years of experience in steering together.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  4. Wow! The winds of change are blowing strong for you! Wonderful you are resilient. These are changing times. I will look forward to seeing more of your Florida adventures. I enjoyed being in the boat with you.
    I will keep you and yours in my thoughts as once again you dream a new dream...

  5. Thank you, Annie. It has indeed been a wild ride this past week. What am I saying? The whole year has been a roller-coaster experience. Difficult to maintain equilibrium, but blogging has helped since I haven't been able to garden very much or be close to family this past year. I can't say I'm sorry to have taken the ride, though. It has definitely been an eye-opener for me, brought me new friends from around the world, taught me a lot more about gardening and nature, and allowed me to re-explore an integral but neglected part of my life: writing. Until this year, I had not realized how many words had been piling up inside of my mind and waiting to be released. It has been a virtual torrent lately. Thanks to all of my blogging friends for giving me the chance to test the waters. It's been a healing time, for sure, finding my own version of Bethesda in blogging.

    Sherry, thanks for commenting about the "boat." Seems we are all (yes, all) in the same boat at one point or another in our lives, waiting for the flood waters to recede and looking for familiar ground to reappear. Solid ground seems harder than ever to find on this blue planet we share, but it's there, waiting.

  6. I'm sorry you are have these financial worries, but it looks like you are dealing with it well by boating in nature and finding comfort in poetry. As a friend in NYC said to me, "The only people who aren't affected by this economic crisis are the ones not working." These are stressful times for one and all. Good luck!

  7. I am so sorry that you are facing all these challenges. My husband and I have a solid retirement (I think) with teacher's retirement and don't need to worry, but everything is so terrible, it's difficult not to worry. I see you take your lessons in nature as I do..thank goodness we have that. I am curious as to what grad program you will be taking?

  8. Sarah, thanks for the support. I always try to look at this kind of thing as a learning opportunity. Maybe this time, I should have been more careful about what I wished for: not for Hubby to lose his job, obviously, but to get back here as soon as possible. The powers that be completely misunderstood my request! I guess it can be rather difficult to fathom the mind of a perimenopausal woman. At least that's what Hubby claims. See what you have to look forward to? ;>}

    Michelle, you know, today I just realized I'm not sorry I am facing these challenges. I am glad to be back home. We took a walk this morning on a bike/hike trail built over a swamp, and I got some lovely pics there. You're right. I do find the answers in nature. Wish everyone else would. As for the grad program, it is on hold until (not if!) our economic situation settles down. I was planning to study workforce education and development at SIU in Illinois. Right now, I am in job hunting mode and so is Hubby. Not the best of times to be looking, I admit. Thanks for your kindness.

  9. Looks like a fun trip ... any day on the water is, and your boat doesn't have to be named "Optimist" to be one in a boat on the water!

  10. "...the strong Will, and the Endeavor
    That forever / Wrestle with the tides of Fate;"

    And beneath the waters, murky though they may be, light penetrates. But darkness has its say.

  11. So many of use going thru these uncertain times. Being back in the place you call home is one consolation.

    Great blog.

  12. Mr. S, I am still wondering about that rogue wave post of yours. It really has me intrigued, especially since one of your commenters noted the geologic argument against a subsurface origin and the curious absence of a fireball. Mysterious! Thanks for giving me something very interesting to think about.

    TC, have you been reading Mr. S's site too? "Darkness has its say," true, but light wins the day and darkness gives way. Gotta love that darkness, though. Life would be pretty boring without it. Thanks for the reminder.

    Marnie, I choose this consolation prize over the jackpot anytime. No uncertainty about that choice for me. Thank you for commenting.

  13. I'm reading backwards--I'm so sorry to hear about your rough waters. What a wonderful post, though--the photos were perfect. I wish you the best, and I'm glad you're back in Florida.

  14. Thank you, Cosmo. Rough waters eventually smooth themselves, and they leave interesting things behind them when they disappear. I've always said I'm a lifelong learner. Some lessons aren't all that fun but are beneficial, nevertheless. I am so glad you have been visiting and introduced Mr. Merritt to the blog scene. He knows a lot of interesting things about plants and seems eager to share that knowledge. You're lucky to have such a good friend.

  15. Hey, W2W--you have a wonderful attitude, and I'm glad you're with your family (umm, and again, in FLORIDA--we finally got some warmer weather and of course it started pouring--my garden's getting messier and messier). I noticed you were an English major--me, too (life long--I teach it!) Anyway, all your blogging buddies are wishing you well, and I'm glad you're enjoying Phillip's blog. He is a great friend--with the side benefit of getting wholesale prices at nurseries!

  16. Cosmo, I don't know where I would have ended up this past year without all of my new buddies in Blogdom. Probably in a strait-jacket being carted off to a padded room! Thanks to everyone who has visited for your supportive and insightful comments. Cosmo, do you use blogging as a teaching tool? I would think it would be a wonderful way to promote research and literary discussion as well as hone writing skills. If I ever teach (and I may be doing just that if I can find an opening in one of the school districts around here), I think I would like to incorporate blogging as part of a more progressive lesson plan. I wonder if it would pass administrative scrutiny?

  17. Hi again--Our IT liaisons actually encourage us to use blogging in our classes, and our Honors program supports a research blog--it's a great tool for advanced students, though I haven't used it at the intro level. I am going to try wikis in the spring--if those work, I may move on to blogs on a larger scale. But you're right--they do everything and more than a journal could do (for one thing, the students can't right all the entries in one night!)

  18. Cosmo, you have IT liaisons? Are they the same thing as the A-V guys I remember wheeling the projector cart into class so we could watch a film guaranteed to either put us to sleep or make us nauseous? ;>} Really, it's great that kids now have all of these wonderful learning tools. Hope they put 'em to good use. Thanks for commenting again.

  19. So, you didn't go back, after all? You are staying home because your husband's job in Illinois is over? I am sorry things have fallen through for the two of you! My husband lost his job back in June, and we have had a very hard time of it since then. Still have a way to go before being back on our feet again solidly, and things happening with the economy don't give us much confidence. But, we have faith that all will work out well. Prayers for you both as well....

  20. Marie, I had no idea your husband lost his job too. You are a lot better than I am at dealing with this kind of shock. I am so glad we are back here close to our kids and grandson. I can't help but smile whenever I'm around Micah. Times like these make you appreciate your loved ones all the more. Thanks for your visit and your prayers. You have ours too.