Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile,
Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court?
Here feel we not the penalty of Adam,
The seasons' difference, as the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter's wind,
Which when it bites and blows upon my body
Even till I shrink with cold, I smile and say
"This is no flattery; these are counselors
That feelingly persuade me what I am..."
--from As You Like It by William Shakespeare, Act 2, Scene 1--
I hope that my brothers and sisters in exile--holed up indoors while winter rages on outside--find some warm, Southern comfort in this post and the words of Duke Senior. On the last day of January, my Secret Aging Man and I walked some trails in the woods at UWF.
Peanut the Younger often takes chances by leaping onto favorite trees. She really seems to favor this Loropetalum. I'm thinking it must have an extra helping of prana--the life force or energy that is supposed to be holding this old world together. Our massage therapist daughter has taken a class in pranic healing and sometimes practices what she has learned on us.
The Secret Aging Man (aka Hubby) takes his pruning seriously and recommends a session for the crepe myrtle in the backyard. Lately, I have seen these trees around here, severely trimmed and making it look like a mad barber has been turned loose on the town. I agreed with the recommendation, but I'm afraid to show you the results of the session. Maybe I'll wait until there is some new growth sprouting in the spring.
At this time of year, when the evening comes early and the frosty air chases us indoors as soon as the sun sets, silly things like lava lamps take us back in time for a laugh or two.
The simplest things keep us satisfied these days, which is a good thing, because they are relatively cheap but oh-so-valuable for nutrition. Gold standards may change with time, but excellence in nutrition and health never goes out of style. Thomas More's Utopia (first published in 1516) found interesting solutions to the problem of maintaining a high standard of living in a world even then obsessed with possessions:
Now if in their society [Utopia] these metals [gold and silver] were put away in
some tower, the ruler and the senate might be suspected of deceiving the people
by some trick and getting some good from it for themselves--such is the foolish
anxiety of the mob. And then if they made platters out of them or other vessels
made by goldsmiths, if ever the occasion arose to melt them down and use them to
pay mercenaries, they realize that once people had begun to delight in them they
would be reluctant to give them up. To obviate these difficulties they have
thought up a method quite compatible with the rest of their arrangements but
very far removed from ours (for we value gold very highly and hide it away quite
carefully), a method which is therefore hard to believe unless you have
experienced it. Whereas they eat and drink from vessels of earthenware and
glass, beautifully crafted but inexpensive, they use gold and silver, not only
in the common halls but also in private houses, to make all the chamberpots and
I hope I am correct in identifying this jellyfish as Aurelia aurita, a moon jellyfish. It does not look exactly like the photos I have found online but close enough by description of size and color. Notably missing are the reproductive organs clearly evident in the other photos I have seen. It was not moving like the Portugese man o' war I saw on Pensacola Beach last month. Maybe its reproductive days are over, which would be a crying shame. It might be one of those valuable jellyfish deemed edible by discriminating palates in some Asian countries. Sushi, anyone?
...Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.
--from As You Like It, 2.1.12-17--