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.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Morning's Due

"Cyriack, this three years day these eyes, though clear
To outward view of blemish or of spot,
Bereft of light their seeing have forgot,
Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear
Of sun, or moon, or star throughout the year,
Or man, or woman. Yet I argue not
Against Heav'n's hand or will, nor bate a jot
Of heart or hope, but still bear up and steer
Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask?
The conscience, friend, t' have lost them overplied
In liberty's defense, my noble task,
Of which all Europe talks from side to side,
This thought might lead me through the world's vain mask,
Content, though blind, had I no better guide."
--Sonnet 22, John Milton, 1655--

Cyriack, according to one of the treasures on my bookshelf, The Annotated Milton, worked for John Milton as an "amanuensis," a recorder of the poet's thoughts. Dedicating himself as Milton's personal scribe, he stood in various roles as student, friend, and confidante. He chose to be privy to the genius's inner turmoil regarding progressive blindness, personal errors of judgment, deaths of two wives, social and political injustice, and impoverishment. Cyriack Skinner witnessed firsthand an incredible outpouring of expression. A poet's spiritual re-birth and subsequent growth generated an Artesian well of expression, and Cyriack must have worked long hours to write it all down, by hand. And I doubt if he made much money for all of that effort.

I have been waiting weeks for some sign of growth in one area of the garden. Can you guess what this plant is and what it will produce? A hint: James Joyce's writing was influenced by a profound lack of it at one time in his homeland.

Perfection has never entered my garden, and I don't intend for it to start now. I intend for that touch of eclectic chaos I enjoy in my literary studies to inform my work outside.

This morning before Daughter left for class, she popped back inside and told me I needed to take a look at something. She said it would look good on my blog. The fog outside had gradually subsided and left behind it a dew-drop strand of pearls on the still-dormant Japanese maple. A spider had abandoned its handiwork for catching food, and the tattered web now provides a framework for something new and wonderful.

Gerbera daisies are something new and wonderful in the bed facing east. As you can see, they get chewed on by something (I wish I knew what critter is responsible!) and still manage to glow with color and bloom with abandon.


  1. I recognize the gerbera. It sure looks lovely. Is that the same plant you saw new growth on? I think not, so I have no idea what that plant is. It is so lovely here now. Gotta get to the garden. I think your garden and kitty very nice. And if ever there is perfection in a garden, it surely fleeting, so overrated.

  2. That's what I need a personal scribe to record that I say and what I need to remember..We have a bit of green here, but that last frost is at the end of they are coming up too soon. I love the daisies....

  3. A potato! I recognized it even before I read your hint about poor James Joyce. I know it because I've tried to grow 'em here in San Diego - and failed. Apparently, they want more water than I can spare them.
    I approve of your "eclectic chaos" school of garden design. Whoever wants that perfect look can go next door where a paid gardener keeps the empty garden looking beautiful for the birds and bees, and for me peeking over the hedge.

  4. I'm doin some scribing right now, transcribing interviews. And I would have guessed tomato (they're in the same family as potatoes). I was at a meeting yesterday and one of the panelists said they're trying to come up with a genetically modified spider web to feed sheep so the sheep would grow super strong wool, bullet proof wool for use in the military. Have you ever??
    Do you reckon slugs might be makin a meal of your gerbera daisy leaves?

  5. Gardens are like snowflakes, no two are the same! But a garden brings joy to the one working it. Kitty is a cutie pie in the garden and had to enlarge the web picture to capture its true beauty on my screen. A really great shot and thanks daughter for spotting it and insisting you show us. Nice daisy and I am guessing a bunny has been nibbling.

  6. Oh what a neat post. I love it. I'm going with potatos too. I believe the Irish were starving that year.

  7. Tina, I've never tried gerberas before, so we'll see how long they'll survive in Florida's unrelenting summer heat. They didn't cost much, so no big loss if they don't. I need to find out if they're edible. Something seems to like the taste.

    Michelle, you and me both. I have all kinds of neat ideas, usually in the middle of the night, that just vanish into thin air because I don't write them down (too lazy and/or don't want to wake the spouse).

    WS, you win the prize! Which is? My admiration for a gardener who really knows her veggies. I'm still trying to figure out the recipe for the "hot floury potatoes" enjoyed by the guests at the party in "The Dead." If my plants are at all productive, it would make a good post. We have a local Joycean scholar who might know. I'll have to ask her. Yeah, that eclectic look exists inside the house too, only it's slightly more organized.

  8. TC, do you hear the blare of the buzzer that follows the wrong answer? Don't feel bad, though. I took pictures yesterday of all the plants in the garden, including tomatoes, and when I posted the picture, I couldn't remember for sure at first if it really was the potato or the tomato! That story about the super wool sounds like something inspired by Army Intelligence. You might be right about the slugs. I haven't seen any yet, but they probably do their dirty work at night. I've been spraying the plants with Neem oil, and I'm hoping to see some good results with it soon.

    Skeeter, it's funny but the blog has become a family affair. Ideas get pitched at me, some with merit, some not. I think they're hoping I'll get rich and famous someday (teehee). Bunnies in the garden? Probably not, or we would be seeing body parts around the place. Peanut the Younger is pretty fast now, and I doubt if the bunnies would escape her notice.

    Troutbirder, you nailed the three-pointer! Thanks for guessing.

  9. The spider web with the dew looks so beautiful. I wish I could capture a scene like that! Your daughter telling you to check it out reminds me of my son telling me about a moth that I might like to photograph...

    That gerbera is lovely. And what is seen of the eclectic chaos too! Symmetry and perfection, down to the last detail, arent in my gardening dictionary either.

  10. Gerbera daisies always seem to bring a smile to my face. Thanks for posting the pic and giving me a chance to see it on such a dreary day here in Chicago.

  11. There must be something in the water on the Blogosphere. Much contemplation about genius and those who sacrifice to make life simple for the one doing the creative work. Maybe it makes them feel a part of something larger than themselves. What else would they be doing, as it were.
    The spider web is beautiful, I enlarged it and it's grand. I'm glad you travel about and bring us these thoughts and pictures.

  12. Hi Walk2Write,

    Just visiting via a link from Rambling In The Woods.

    I've learned a lot reading in your archives. For instance, I've seen that ground lichen around all my life, but I never knew it was called Deer Moss. My wife and I were over at Port St Joe State Park a couple of years ago and photographed a large plot of it without knowing the name.

    We live in Jax over on the other side of the state.

    Thanks for the photos and for teaching me more about my own home state.

    John Cowart

  13. That gerbera is pretty. They don't grow well for here either.

    Sorry, I don't know your mystery plant.

  14. I enjoyed your connection between the literary and the garden. Lovely post!

  15. Kanak, I remember you posted a beautiful picture of a spider on the wall--much better than just a web. The only spider I'm able to get close to and not creep out about is the one pictured on the side of my blog. I guess it's because it looks so friendly.

    Glad to oblige ye, MBT! Sending sunny thoughts your way.

    PJ, I haven't been able to spend much time lately keeping up with everyone's posts, so I'll have to investigate what you're talking about. Thanks for the tip and glad you liked the web pic. All of the pictures on this post were taken on Monday in our yard right here in NW FL.

  16. Mr. Cowart, welcome! I'm not an expert on Florida by any means, but I do enjoy living here and learning as much as I can about its flora, fauna, and history. Before moving to the NW corner of the state, we lived on Anastasia Island for almost a year. St. Augustine is a fascinating place, and so is Jax, I'm sure.

    Marnie, I tried growing gerberas in S. Illinois one year, and they disappointed me, but I'm not giving up on them. I think I've got them planted in just the right spot and started out with healthier plants this time. Now I just have to keep up with the chomping critters. Weeping Sore guessed the mystery plant correctly: potato!

    Sarah, thank you! Milton is one of those rare poets who just won't let go of you once you start studying his work and the life that created it.

  17. Lovely poem and Gerbera! I love for it in my garden.

  18. Is Peanut a squirrel chaser as well? May I borrow a Peanut please?

  19. I hope everyone enlarges the photo to see that gorgeous spiderweb, W2W. And your potatoes are looking good! I like a little chaos myself in the garden:)

    Interesting info about Milton, who was never one of my favorites--sorry. I thought his daughters also transcribed much of his poetry; no matter who wrote it all down, they had to be very busy!

  20. Chandramouli, I think the gerbera might like it there in India with a little bit of shade. I've got mine planted near a concrete patio so the roots will stay cool, and they get shade in the afternoon.

    Skeeter, the squirrels must have gotten notice about Peanut, because they seem to skirt the edge of the yard and don't bother my plants. There are plenty of live oak acorns in the neighbor's yard to keep them fat and happy anyway. As for borrowing her, next time she shreds something in the house, I'll let her know she's got a friend in GA who needs her help outdoors.

    Rose, I usually forget to mention that some of the pics should be clicked on, so I think I'll put something near the header as a permanent reminder. I'm really glad that Daughter told me about the web that morning. By afternoon it was gone. As for Milton's daughters, I read somewhere that they were expected to be "readers" for him, and they were not happy campers about it. As for scribes, he probably only trusted men to do that job. Milton was formerly not one of my favorite poets either, but I've learned to like his stuff since being shown the error of my ways by one of my professors at UWF. His infectious enthusiasm was enough to convince me. Why couldn't I have had math teachers like that?

  21. Hi W2W, before grazing the comments, I will guess potato? Cyriack led a noble life it seems, to be the tape recorder and scribe to the poet, rather than attempt poetry himself. What sacrifice. Or that's the way I see it. Each of us is filled with genius and poetry, IMHO, and expressing it leads to fulfillment. Love the dewey spider web. Good for Daughter pointing it out to you. That is food for thought in itself. :-)

  22. Frances, I really appreciate your comments. They are always thought-full. I agree we each have genius, and I also think each of us (in the beginning, at least) leads a noble life. Family is a constant source of inspiration for me and shores up my sometimes shaky existence. Daughter and I have a special thought-connection.

  23. I could use a personal scribe! They'd probably record it all in blogger!

  24. Gerbera!!! I 'm surprised! I thought you are living in a similar area how I do. Ok, I 'm happy to see the first crocus and hope that it 's ending with snow and you are cultivating Gerbera. Fantastic!

    I wish you a great week!


  25. Mr. S., you do an admirable job of "scribing" yourself. Time is the only thing you are lacking.

    Wurzerl, new flowers are opening up daily here, and the veggies (what I'm really interested in this year) are so far exceeding my expectations for growth. Some much-needed rain we've had for the past few days has refreshed everything in the garden.

  26. Good point about perfection in a garden. Perfection to me implies a certain amount of stasis ... and gardens are in a state of constant flux (and problem solving! ...)

  27. Mr. S, I hope you don't mind, but I took your idea about flux to another place and time in my newest post. I appreciate your input!