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, June 8, 2009

A Watched POT(US) Never Boils--Lessons from a Garden and the Gulf

"But with the word the time will bring on summer,
When briers shall have leaves as well as thorns,
And be as sweet as sharp. We must away;
Our wagon is prepared, and time revives us.
All's well that ends well. Still the fine's the crown;
Whate'er the course, the end is the renown."
--from William Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well, Act 4, Scene 4--

Time in a garden/blog has taught me:

  1. Patience. I have planted several Clematis vines here in the last five years we have lived in this house. Only one variety, Nelly Moser, (thanks to Prairie Rose, I remember its name now) has survived hurricanes and hot summers. It thwarts even my best efforts to doom its existence by planting it on the southwest corner of a brick house in the northwest corner of Florida.
  2. Joy. I had some doubts that anything would thrive with my lack of experience gardening in a southern climate. The soil here still needs a lot of help, and the fire ants are a daily nuisance.
  3. Peace. Commonly accepted mind-numbing methods (take your pick--there are more than ever to choose from these days) are losing their appeal for this gardener. I have found a place where troubled times freeze in place like a photograph or words on a page, never ignored but ready at a moment's notice to be cooly examined and discussed from a variety of perspectives.
  4. Love. SAM puts up with a lot of manure from me and always has. I come from a long line of strong-willed (bull-headed?) people who don't slip easily into someone else's yoke and pull in the desired direction.
  5. Kindness. Still in the developing stages.
  6. Goodness. Same as above.
  7. Faithfulness. Same as above.
  8. Gentleness. Same as above.
  9. Self-control. Same as above. Just read some of my previous posts, and you'll understand what I mean.
Many exciting things have been happening across the Pond for POTUS and his family. I hope he gets a chance to relax this summer in his new garden at home and maybe even on the water. Of course, living in Florida means that water is never very far from my thoughts. Springs, creeks, rivers, and the sea surround us with liquid energy and diffuse life's tensions. We manage to stay afloat in a kayak that can be pedaled like a recumbent bike or paddled if necessary. Early on Saturday morning the Gulf of Mexico laid down like a lake and allowed us to explore the coastline along Fort Pickens. At one point we saw something in the water some fifty yards away that could have been a body for all we knew. It looked to be about five feet long and had a good deal of mass to it. Had a shark gotten to some hapless swimmer or surfer dude? Images from Jaws swam across my mind. No. As we pedaled closer, the object raised its head and then sank in a matter of seconds. It was a sea turtle! We could not get close enough to take its picture, but we got excited by the sighting all the same.

After about an hour or so in the kayak, the old backsides get a little sore, so we head for shore and walk about on the empty beach for a while. It's still early in the morning, and we have a long stretch of the beach all to ourselves. I love to be on the water, but using my feet on land helps me to think more clearly. And tipping over doesn't usually concern me when I'm standing on my own two feet. I have lots of things to think about.

Before we reach the shore, we notice the water there seeming to boil with some sort of activity. (I took a couple of videos but wasn't satisfied with the quality so a picture will have to suffice.) The "boiling" lasts for quite a while even after we beach the kayak. Some sort of jackfish (judging by the shape of the tails) are chasing tiny minnows, and the gulls and other shorebirds are feasting on them as well. But the action drifts off farther down the beach, and even disconcerting news that finds its way into my thoughts simmers down eventually. Son's cool acceptance of a 25% pay cut to keep his job makes me wonder at how silly I am to lose my temper over trivial things. And at the end of the day, daughter's life and limbs are spared when her tire explodes. It does not happen on the Interstate, which is part of her drive home from work, but on Highway 90, not far from home. She is in the left lane and manages to bring the car to a stop in a grassy portion of the median. I am home to pick her up, SAM is summoned, and the tire is changed. The day ends well.


  1. OMG! Glad your daughter was able to steer the car to safety witht hte blown tire!!! That is always scary. Your son did the right thing...seems everyone is doing this all around me right now...neighbors, etc. Jobs are cutting hours and dollars...sad situation, for sure.

    Your kayaking looked like a huge adventure! Be careful out there on the guys are something else with your adventures on the high seas!!!

    I love north Florida with all of the creeks, springs, etc. I miss the Ichnetucknee, and Manatee Springs!!! I had my forst REAL DATE at Manatee with my husband, swinging on the rope swing and swimming with eels in long grasses in the spring! Exhilarating in that freezing cold water! I miss it so much! May have to travel up one weekend this summer and introduce our Dtr to the springs!!! We used to say we joined the Society of the Blue Butts when we would go in!!! LOLOL!

    Keep a stiff upper lip and just continue to enjoy life!

    Have a wonderful week, both and all of you!!! Hi to SAM!

  2. I must say I have to admire you and anyone who gardens in the south with fire ants. Tried it and couldn't do it. It's tough. Your clematis with the hydrangea looks great!

    Glad daughter is okay. It is a shame about your son. I hope things get better soon. Take care!

  3. What wonderful photos of a beach empty from horizon to horizon. I'd love to be walking there.

    Sorry to hear about your son's job. I guess he is lucky to still have one. And your daughter, what a frightening experience. I think your family has now had its share of bad luck and is due something good;)

  4. An adventure on the ocean in a kayak is not a good idea for this worry wart! You two are so adventurous to take that bold step into life! I just knew you were going to tell the tale of an alligator. The sea turtle must have been awesome to see in the wild. We have seen them at the turtle refuge in Jekyll Island and they are wonderful creatures! Sorry for your sons pay cut but as you say, he still has a job to go to. And daughter did well with her flat tire. Yes, glad not on the interstate but now you should feel better knowing she can handle such a situation in the future. We found a nail in both car and boat trailer tires recently. Not sure where we are picking them up but assume with all the construction projects going on around us, some careless contractors pick up truck bed is leaving them on the roads. Argggggg..

  5. Julie, it's a good thing daughter is a careful, level-headed driver. And that son can keep his equilibrium in the midst of such a blow. The company he works for laid off half its workforce, so he barely made it under the wire. It's going to be a struggle to survive for sure. We'll just have to get through all of this together somehow. Those springs you talk about sound like a lot of fun. Swimming with eels, though? I'm not sure I would be brave enough. SAM says hi!

    Tina, it must be amusing to someone watching me pulling weeds in the flower beds. I ought to try entering a creative dance competition. Things have to get better for everyone, not just us.

    Marnie, the Fort Pickens stretch of beach is one of the few undeveloped areas left. It's a national park and just recently opened up again (driving access) to the public. Most people would rather be close to the amenities (restaurants, bars, bathrooms), but the beach is where I like to find peace and quiet away from people, except family, of course. Bad luck? No such thing for us. We like to consider it training/pruning/correction. Son chose (twice!) to remain in the workforce and buy his own place instead of finishing college and living at home when we gave him that option. And daughter felt the tire begin to "wobble" over a week ago and ignored the warning to get it checked out. Good luck is fun to think about, but I'd rather set my sights on something better. Thanks for the concern.

    Skeeter, the only way I'm going out on the Gulf is when it's flat as a pancake like it was Saturday. And that is not a common occurrence. I don't relish the idea of getting bounced out of the boat by a wave. It's not the kind of kayak you see people rolling over in on white-water rapids but is made for smooth water, which is just my speed. We'll have to take the boat on a river trip so I can have an alligator story to tell!

  6. The morning paddle in the Gulf is a favorite way to start a day for me, as long as someone else is doing the paddling. I could actually hear the water gently lipping the shore as I read.
    Best wishes to your children, you never stop worrying no matter how old they get. And your son teaches us all that we already have so much.
    I'm in that place with our garden that is somewhat vexing, the soil needs tweaking, the insects are annoying, and we still haven't seen the worst of the heat. Oh dear.

  7. Ol' Bill had a way with words didn't he. I almost get chills reading any of his stuff! I often wonder what it must've been like to live during his time. Ahhhh, it would've been so poetic (or something with literariness attached to it).

    We have three - you say cle MA tis, I say clem EH tis: 'Nelly Moser,' 'Jackmanii,' and my favorite, the wonderfully French named 'Comtesse de Bouchard' (That sounds so erotic). Jackmanii's been here the longest, ten years or so I think, and they all do great. We have pruned them back to around six inches above the ground in spring, but sometimes we forget and they don't seem to mind.

    PA ranks high on the list of states with ample waterways. Unfortunately, our abandoned mines have created a mess that requires much in the way of treating acid mine drainage. I wrote about it in an article for the paper's "Going Green" page.

    You're so lucky to live close to the ocean. I was in the Navy and water was my life for four years. (Submarine Service.)

    Your tale about the jackfish chasing minnows reminded me of my time living in South Carolina when I'd go fishing with a good friend. Lake Moultrie or Marion, I forget which now, but we'd see stripped bass in the "jumps," chasing minnows and other baitfish to the surface for a feeding frenzy. We'd rush to the scene (in a boat of course) with our rods armed with top-water fishing lures and sometimes two fish would hit the same lure and we'd have a "two-fer."

    Bull-headed eh? Are you a Taurus also?

  8. So glad your daughter is all right! All it takes to put things into perspective is a near-tragic incident like this or hearing the troubles of others to realize maybe our problems aren't so bad after all. Your son's experience at work sounds all too familiar; my son and daughter-in-law have had to really cut back (when there really wasn't anything to cut back) for the same reasons.

    So glad your clematis is doing well. My Nelly Moser was full of blooms this spring; beginner's luck for me:) My garden has certainly become a place where I can find peace and forget the troubles of the world.

  9. If my writing sessions ever "net fame and fortune," I'm coming to see you in person for a night out!

  10. PJ, the best part about getting to pedal is that the hands are free to take pictures or wave for help as the case may require. The home remedy I talked about in my comment on your post seems to be working--for now. I'm still not convinced that the bugs will leave the tomatoes alone. At least the mockingbirds are. Our cat has managed to scare the daylights out of them here. She was divebombed by one the other day and apparently took her revenge in short order. I was a bit upset with her field-dressed present just outside the back door until I noticed the bare patch on the back of her neck.

    TC, you make me laugh! Just what I need. We're on pins and needles waiting to hear something (I don't want to jinx it by being specific, something I always seem to do). No; I'm not a Taurus but a Virgo (and a "ratty" one at that), which seems to be another piece of evidence against the horoscopic camp. Hmm. I love being the exception to the rule (oddball). I'm holding you to that promise of a night out...with spouses, of course.

    Rose, sorry to hear that your kids are going through the same scenario. It's happening all over the place. Maybe we don't really forget the troubles but work on them at a deeper level of consciousness. Gardening and writing might just send a good one-two punch aimed at those problems.

  11. Sounds like you had a very full and all are safe in the end. Yea!
    Thank you for sharing.

  12. Great Post And Amazing Blog !! Really appreciate your 9 well taught thoughts !! I Really enjoyed reading them and in future dnt want to miss anyone so i am now your follower..great...Also I Have Started My Own Website And Would Like You To Have A Look At It.I Would Love To Have Your Comments On That Also.Unseen Rajasthan

  13. Gardening is a great way to connect with nature ... and ones self. It's true.

  14. may we all grow in the attributes you list to begin this post. It is a process.

  15. Some good lessond in life here. I could take a few to heart. :)

  16. Loved this post- and how funny- I just put up a "lessons" themed post too. Great minds think alike! :)
    What I wouldn't give to have hydrangea like that in my yard....

  17. Tammie Lee, thanks for the visit. Your photos are incredible. I'll be back to see some more!

    UR, thank you. I enjoyed my visit to your site as well. It's great to see some new faces here as well as old friends.

    Mr. S, I'm afraid that this is the time of year when I enjoy the water a bit more than the garden because of the intense heat outdoors. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about!

    Wayne, that "growth" is a challenge to be sure, and the "fruits" are meant to be shared.

    Troutbirder, nature is a great teacher, yes? It helps me see things more clearly.

    Hi, Dee. I'll have to take a seat in your "classroom" soon. Those hydrangeas can take the heat, but they are water-hogs, I have to warn you!

  18. Very interesting blog and beautiful snaps.

  19. Your Clematis is so awesome!

    I keep buying them and end up with this annoying small flowers, about the size of quarters and bell-shaped. One of these days I hope I get one with a big showy flower like yours.

  20. Rajesh, thank you for your visit and kind comment. I will be stopping by your site to say hello.

    MBT, I found a great site that might help you find a more suitable variety:

    It usually takes a couple of years for the vines to become established enough to put on a good show.

  21. Oh my gosh..I am so happy that your daughter is OK. And your poor son with a pay above..the 'new normal' I loved your lessons from the garden and while I could never find the words as you do, I agree...Michelle