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.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Bird (Pelican) Droppings, Moon Pie Hoistings, and Other Colorful Views from the Poor Man's Riviera

Pelicans have made a comeback to the Gulf Coast in ways I would never have expected. I knew that since DDT was banned, they have gradually been able to increase in number and grace the skies over Northwest Florida and neighboring states with their presence. Do you think it was to celebrate this victory over decimation that made enthusiastic citizens in Pensacola initiate "dropping" a large sculpture of a pelican on New Year's Eve? I am not sure, but I was hoping to witness and capture the scene myself. Unfortunately, Hubby and I missed the event (he is still recovering from a whopper of a cold), but daughter was able to attend with a friend. She forgot to take her camera, so I have had to rely on another blogger's perspective. Mobile, Alabama, a nearby city on the Gulf Coast, held its own unusual celebration with a Moon Pie drop. You have to hand it to the good people of this region (sometimes known as the Redneck Riviera but what I prefer to call the Poor Man's Riviera). They know how to have a good time in great style.

Though things like pelicans and moon pies are instantly recognizable and maybe worthy of celebration, lumps of "something" on the beach known for its pristine sugar sand are cause for pause. These objects on the shoreline near the Fort Pickens barricade (site closed since Hurricane Ivan) resemble rocks, but closer inspection of smaller, similar pieces revealed a wood-like texture. It might be debris that has finally washed ashore after a long time soaking in the sea. From an ancient shipwreck, perhaps?

The colors of the Gulf change from moment to moment, from silver here... almost aquamarine here on the west side of the Pensacola Beach pier... sapphire blue here on the east side of the pier. I think the change in color comes from a change in perspective. The angle at which light bounces back from the sea's surface to my eye and the lens of the camera makes all the difference. Of course, the two views from the pier were at a much greater angle from the surface than the view at beach level. And the angle of the sun's light hitting the water changes the color even more. I took the picture on the beach about two hours after visiting the pier on Tuesday.
A Psalm of Life
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!--
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled dreams, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,--act in the living present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.
--poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow--


  1. Poor man's riviera indeed. I love those sugar beaches and think they are the best beaches anywhere on earth (keep in mind I have seen some but certainly not all:) I could never get over the sugar like texture and look of the white sand down there. The water is beautiful. I bet you are ever so happy to be back in Florida, pelican drops and all. Hope hubby gets to feeling better soonest!

  2. I think they are the best beaches, too, Tina. "Poor man's Riviera" sounds better somehow than "Redneck Riviera," and the average income level around here lends even more credence to the term. I am thrilled to be back and glad to have something like a pelican dropping to laugh about. Hubby is gradually feeling better, finally behaving himself and staying indoors, mostly in bed. I'll tell him you said hi. Thanks!

  3. Thanks for sharing the beauty of Florida at this time of year! I'm from the Northeast US! :)

  4. You're welcome, Mary. I usually don't make a habit of visiting the beach this often, but we have had more time than usual to do so and are taking advantage of it. Summertime at the beach in FL is usually too hot anyway. Please stay warm!

  5. Good pics of the beach even though I'm not the beach type. I guess it's because I don't swim. I just like to sit & watch the waves come ashore. something calming about the sound.
    I sure hope your other half is feeling better. It's a bummer to get sick this time of yr.
    Guess you are enjoying this warmer weather. Yes, it is nice to be able to walk out without freezing to death.

  6. Hi, Lola. I'm not much of a swimmer either, at least not at the beach. Too many strange critters in the water for me to relax! I might wade in to just past the knees if the surf is calm and float around on a raft, but that's it for me. Sitting and watching the waves is more my speed too. Hubby is feeling a little better every day, which is good because I have a very small Honey-do project for him today. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Hi W2W, Your various 'blues' of the ocean make me long to see it. I just love the ocean...not so much to swim in-just for the beauty of it all. Any ocean, really. Cold or warm. I love the waves, the sand, the sounds, smells, etc. I wish we were able to spend our winters in FL. Now that's something to think about! Hmm...I've just had an idea:-) But, it won't happen anytime soon--as we've still got a 12 yr. old at home and retirement is far off:( Like you, were were married young but, didn't have our kids til we were older. Now in our very early 50's, there is no sign of retirement on the horizon;-( Have a happy new year!! Jan

  8. What a lovely poem to accompany your photos. I particularly like the one of the silver boundary between sea and beach, complete with silver birds. Sorry you missed the pelican drop, but I hope you are feeling better.
    Hope your 2009 is filed with health and happiness, and - what the heck - with silver too.

  9. I would gladly spend a few days on the "Poor Man's Riviera." Somehow I think I would fit in much better there than on the "real" one:)

    Southerners sound much more creative in celebrating New Year's Eve. Maybe we Illinoisans should drop cowpies to celebrate!

    I did check out your earlier post on the artwork at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Interesting and playful, though I'm not much into modern art.

    I have to tell you, my college professors always looked down their noses at Longfellow, and being the dutiful student, I followed suit. I think it's time I forget the literary criticism--this is a great poem! The theme reminds me of Tennyson's "Ulysses," perfect for the self-reflection at the beginning of the year. I wonder what other Longfellow gems I have missed?

  10. Informative post and great news about the pelicans comeback since environmental laws put that ban into play. Enjoyed all of the photos, but especially that green water.

    Hope your hubby feels better soon! Mine also contracted a tenacious whopper. He missed some days of work and he's rarely sick.

  11. Nice pics of the beach. Looks a lot warmer than Chicago ;0)

  12. When I saw "Moon Pie" in the title I thought I'd be reading about how good they are with a cold cola of your choice. They were, and possibly still are, a favorite treat of "drink truck" drivers down in my hometown. Which, unfortunately, has little sandy shoreline, but does have the gravely shores stretchin along the Green River, and they can be colorful.

    Alas, Longfellow's song might be a little too ambitious to act upon in these trying times. Yet, having a positive outlook never hurts.

  13. Jan, this area is also known as the Emerald Coast, so it was surprising to me to see that deep blue. I guess the conditions were just right, but it was weird seeing the two colors at the same time, just on opposite sides of the pier. Optical anomaly, I guess. Regarding the retirement, I'm not going to worry about it. We'll just grow a very big garden and catch more fish. And when I can't do that anymore, I'll just float out to sea....

    Thank you, Weeping Sore! Silver is fast becoming one of my favorite colors now, especially since it's taking over the color of my hair. A little silver in the pocket never hurts either!

  14. Rose, the Poor Man's Riviera is much more accepting of people of our age anyway. I think there is (or should be!) an upper age limit on the real one (at least for me) because of the sunbathing habits there. You know, instead of the cowpie drop, maybe governor hoisting would go over in a big way. I keep getting the sense that there are quite a few people who would like to see Blago just "disappear." Have concrete overshoes gone out of style in Chicago? As for Longfellow, what's not to like? I'm not sure when you were in college, but I seem to remember the same P.C. attitude when I first attended in the late 70s. I have found attitudes a little more open-minded in the academic world the last few years. God is no longer a dirty word and neither is Longfellow.

  15. Gel, I thought you might like that bit o' green. You know, I think Hubby contracted something while he was in Illinois packing up things and moving back. Maybe it's more than just a cold. Same thing happened to both of us last February in Illinois. Some sort of nasty viral thing. Best thing is plenty of sunshine and rest. Hope your Gem is over it now. Thanks for visiting!

  16. MBT, maybe instead of a Spring Fling in Chicago, there ought to be a Winter Beach Thing in Florida. I'll help organize if anyone's interested!

  17. TC, I think the state motto for AL is Stars Fell on Alabama. I never imagined that moon pies would follow suit! Moon pies are a favorite item to throw from floats at Mardi Gras, so I guess that's the origin of the Pie in the Sky idea. Don't they go better with milk, though? And what do you mean, Longfellow's song is "too ambitious to act upon?" You are "still achieving, still pursuing." Don't give up, young man!

  18. I've never seen your beaches in person. They certainly look lovely. The colors of the water are amazing.

  19. I'm glad you liked your virtual visit. Maybe someday you can visit in person, and we can take a walk together on the beach.

  20. Thanks for the tour of our part of the Gulf and for the brilliant poem.

  21. You're welcome, PJ. I'm enjoying taking tours of the area with you on your site.

  22. Hi W2W, I was reading along, putting my comment together in my mind when I came to the poem. It was one my father recited all the time, ad nauseum, "Life is real, life is earnest" until we would groan, it was a bit of a joke. When he died I wanted it to be part of his service, but we could not find it, pre internet. So just those few lines were read. Seeing the whole of the piece brings tears to my eyes, tears of gladness to see it in entirety. Thank you.

  23. Frances, you are welcome. I'm glad to be of service in promoting literature. The poem has special meaning for me too.

  24. I usually am turned off by music thrust upon me, but I have twice gotten Leo Kotke here and it brings back a memorable evening 20 years ago when he opened for Nanci Griffith.

  25. Glad you like the Kottke, Mr. S. I've been listening to him for more than 30 years and never tire of his music. I will admit, though, to preferring his instrumental pieces much more than the vocal ones.

  26. I saw Leo in concert in Pittsburgh years ago. He chatted with the crowd after his performance and I was quite flattered when he approached me and asked, "Do I know you?" I said, "Yes, and you owe me for the session guitarist job I did for you back in '78."

  27. And what was his reaction? Did he have a look of bewildered surprise and then reach for his wallet? Or did he wink and keep on walking? Another question: do you prefer his instrumental pieces or the vocal ones?

  28. We both had a good laugh, he then proceeded to autograph a fan's guitar. Yes, someone brought their acoustic guitar and had Leo autograph it.

    As for his singing, well, it's better on some songs than it is on others (if you heard me sing "Fire On The Mountain" and then "Freeborn Man," you'd hear a distinct difference in presentation). If I had to choose voice or instrument, it'd be his phenomenal guitar playing. However, that isn't to say I don't like his voice. In particular, "Flattened Brain" from his 1995 Live album is one tune I love hearing him sing. There are others.

  29. I like your photographs and the psalm of life!
    I 'm very late but I installed my new laptop! Today I wish you a Happy New Year 2009!!!
    Have a great time Wurzerl

  30. TC, I'll bet "Louise" ranks up there too. No one else could sing that one like he does.

    Wurzerl, I'm so glad to see you here! Good for you that you have a new laptop. You can sit outside in the garden when the weather gets nice, sip a glass of wine, and blog to your heart's content. Happy New Year to you!

  31. I just read your comment...when you can't do it anymore you'll just 'float out to sea'...that is a very deep thought, really. It provokes both positive & negative images for me;) But, I can understand the sentiment:) Jan

  32. I love the ways you say that gulf changes form moment to moment. How true

  33. Ahhh! I love beaches, but these days beaches here get so crowded that it isn't a lot fun. It's great to see birds at beach! They seem so lively there somehow. Hope your hubby's feeling better now.

  34. Jan, I suppose I shouldn't say things like floating out to sea. Sometimes, though, the thought of being totally dependent on someone in extreme old age (and its cost!) puts irrational ideas in my head. Let's just hope that the powers-that-be don't have the same kind of ideas and put them into practice.

    TUC, thank you for visiting. It's a struggle, isn't it? Remaining constant when everything else doesn't?

    Chandramouli, I'm so pleased you stopped by and commented! And I apologize for not visiting you. I've seen your name and comments on so many other sites and have neglected to follow up on them by going to your site. This time of year, the beaches here are much more enjoyable (at least to me) precisely because they are not so crowded. The winters here in NW Florida are a bit cool for most tourists, and even locals tend to stay away from the beaches. Hubby is feeling fine now. Thank you!

  35. Catching up on some missed blog reading today! Happy New Year and I hope hubby is well by now…

    We have a Redneck Rivera in GA called Tybee Island! Dropping Moon pies, now that should be a TN thing or maybe they drop Goo-Goo's. lol Atlanta drops the peach of course...

    Is that Blue Blob alive and moving it's self or the wind blowing it around? Have never noticed them on the beach before but the clear Jelly fish instead. I love the blue colored water with white beaches. So beautiful to the eye…

    Family portrait day looks wonderful. Lots of smiles and hugs by all....

    Nothing like seeing the U-Haul pull up with all your missed treasures!

  36. Hi, Skeeter. Wow, I don't think you missed anything! As for the blue blob, it was moving on its own power, whatever that is. I thought they just drifted about aimlessly, but I guess that's in the water only. I have only ever seen jellyfish and the like lying about and never swaying back and forth, so I thought it would be interesting to capture on video. Thanks again for the video instruction, "teach."

  37. Your welcome! :-) That must have been really neat to see it moving like that in person! Way too cool...

    Tom Petty today? Awesome

  38. Skeeter, I'll probably never see another man o'war move like that one did. It bothers me just a little to think it might have been in some kind of death throes. And to think that "it" is actually a colony of creatures, not an individual. Like a whole community dying of thirst in the desert. Petty, he is something else now. I had never heard these two songs before, and I really like them.