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, September 26, 2009

Nature Notes--Saturday Morning's Mitzvah

Time and experience in the blogosphere have taught me that Viceroy butterflies can easily be distinguished from Monarchs, if you know what to look for. Michelle of helped me identify a butterfly I found last year in Illinois. She directed me to note the difference in markings and provided a link to an appropriate identification site. You might even say she "mitzvahed" me into the mysteries of butterflies. I'm not trying to be irreverant here. I've been spending the past few weeks delving into some even more profound mysteries while preparing some unusual (eclectic?) studies for a small group that's meeting at our home this month. When someone gives me an assignment (mitzvah?), I tend to devote a lot of time and effort toward completing it, sometimes to the exclusion of other activities like blogging. This past week King David's mischief with Bathsheba commanded my undivided attention.

Nevertheless, I awoke early this morning, determined to gather some images from the garden and post about them. Not even those heavy legs I've posted about before could deter me from my mission. Look at the treasure I found! Tina of In the Garden handed me some orange Cosmos seeds last fall when we met in New Harmony, Indiana, which I dutifully planted this spring about three meters from where these plants sprouted. Since the garden slopes down from here, I'm thinking it must have been ants--or a clumsy gardener with ridges on her soles--that carried the seeds uphill to this germination point.

My early morning walk revealed an immature but determined visitor on one of our two pink grapefruit trees. From the looks of it (at first glance it resembles bird poo), it could either be the caterpillar form of the Viceroy butterfly, which can have more than two generations in the South, or perhaps of some type of Swallowtail (Papilio) species. Its unremitting desire to erect a consumer's temple at the site of my hopes for future citrus may have signed and sealed its death warrant. It won't even be allowed to carry it to the front lines like Uriah the Hittite did.

Even if I hadn't determined its fate, this unusual red bug I found a few days earlier nearby would have dispatched it without a shred of regret.
Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.
--Gerard Manley Hopkins' "Spring and Fall (to a young child)," 1880--

Why did I not remember this song earlier? It was one of my dad's favorites.


  1. I hadn't ever seen that poem before... it's very intriging... Wonderful pictures and words, as usual... I was always one of the few people I knew who actually knew and used the word mitzvah... probably due to the Jewish family next door who sometimes babysat me when I was a kid...

  2. I have never heard of the word Mitzvah used to mean assignment. Interesting!!! Then again I am not Jewish!

    I sure do love Jewish food though!!! LOL.

    Great insect finds and photos!

  3. A nature ramble. ..It's wonderful to be reminded of how clever mimicry can save the viceroy from potential predators.

    I knew that Mitzvah's a Jewish term but didn't know it could be used this way too. Interesting. Love the colour of that cosmos. Great shots of the bugs!

  4. I can tell the difference between a Viceroy and a Monarch when I see photos of them, but when I'm chasing one around the garden with a camera, I have no idea which is which:) I planted some of Tina's cosmos, too; aren't they gorgeous? Mine did so well; I'm planning to collect some seed for next year. Judging from some other blogs I've seen, I think her cosmos must be growing all over the country:)

    Interesting that yours is the second blog mentioning a study of King David and Bathsheba I've read in the last week. Coincidence or appropriate for the times??

  5. LOL.. I am happy to have 'mitzvahed' you. I wish I had that power over more people in the world so they would care about the planet as you do. I do know about mitzvah as my husband is Jewish. I am so curious about that caterpillar and will have to do some research on it. As always your posts are so beautifully written with just the right mix of intelligence and humor. Thank you for posting to Nature Notes... Michelle

  6. Claude, Hopkins' poetry is definitely a favorite. It's not at all typical of its time or any time for that matter--which is probably why I like it so well. It's wonderful when a child can grow up among many different cultures, religions, races, etc. I was an Air Force brat so I had some exposure to that experience. It's been a priceless part of my education. Wouldn't it be great if you could meet that family now and reminisce with them?

    Julie, I'm learning right along with you. When SAM and I were in college many moons ago, we were invited by a Jewish friend to a special dinner, and the food, ceremony, and fellowship remain vivid in my mind even now.

    Kanak, thanks! I almost missed seeing the caterpillars on the tree because they were motionless and so closely resembled something else. I thought a flock of gulls or geese had flown overhead!

    Rose, I'm kind of ashamed to admit it, but I let the "Ogle" effect take over the spot in the garden where the Cosmos came up, which is not where I sowed the seed and expected to see them. But otherwise, they would have been yanked up and thrown on the compost pile. I'm so glad I was able to post about this part of Tina's gift to me. I guess I've missed that post you mentioned since I've not been keeping up with blogs lately. Whose was it?

    Michelle, you have more power than you realize to change people's thinking and turn them in the right direction--get them to repent, so to speak--through your thought-provoking posts and comments on other blogs. It's interesting to see what effect husbands can have on what we do--who knew they were so useful? LOL! Seriously, though, readers here who haven't followed my blog from the beginning would probably be surprised--shocked?--to know that a good part of SAM's career was spent working as a petroleum geologist. And also that we're both passionate about caring for the earth and its "critters"--humans too. Thanks again for the opportunity to join your meme.

  7. I have to laugh at Rose's comment on my cosmos growing all over the country-that's a joy for me! And such a sunny orange too. Be sure to collect some seeds for planting next year as they area not always reliable. They match the viceroy. Thanks to blogs I can also identify them and can tell you definitely I have only seen monarchs here. Have a great day and I hope you and SAM are doing great!

  8. 'Michelle, you have more power than you realize to change people's thinking and turn them in the right direction--get them to repent, so to speak--through your thought-provoking posts and comments on other blogs'

    Thank you so much!!!!!

  9. I hadn't heard that poem in many years. I believe the last time I saw the poem was in the book "Weep and Know Why".


  10. Tina, I love your gift of the garden marker, but this living marker (Cosmos) is pretty special to me too. I remember our visit every time I see those bright orange flowers nodding in the breeze. I'll be sure to collect some seeds. Thanks again!

    You're welcome, Michelle, and I mean it. Your concern for the environment is genuine, and it shines through in everything you write.

    Hi, Marnie! I've never seen that book. Sounds like it would be a good one to read. I found the poem in one of the many college lit books crowding my shelves--another heap of treasures.

  11. great pictures- I love that odd red bug- very cool! Ever find out what it is?

  12. Hi, Dee. The red bug is the immature or nymph form of the milkweed assassin bug. If you click on the highlighted words(blue, I think) in that paragraph, you'll be directed to a site that describes it.

  13. Thanks Walk2Write- I missed that somehow but it was definitely worth a click- I love the name Assassin bug- pretty appropriate.

  14. Fascinating post and the first time in years of blogging I have seen the word "mitzvah" in a blog title.

    However, please note the mitzvah does not mean "assignment." It's also not used as a verb, only as a noun. I am Jewish, but I still double-checked the dictionary to see if there had been changes since I learned the word as a child.

    From Merriam webster: Etymology: Hebrew miṣwāh
    Date: 1650

    1 : a commandment of the Jewish law
    2 : a meritorious or charitable act

  15. Thanks, gel, for coming to my rescue on this point of language. I'm not Jewish or a Hebrew scholar. I do enjoy exploring the limits and/or flexibility of language and concepts, however. I wasn't attempting to redefine the word or belittle its significance but rather hoped to understand it better by exploring a possible, enirely personal application. If you look back a little farther into my posts, you'll see that I do tend to open my mouth when I probably shouldn't.

  16. I am attempting to reemerge into the garden blog word. wanted to say hello since this was a favored place in that part of the universe

  17. Hello, Mr. Stratz, and welcome back! I've missed your posts and comments and look forward to reading them again. I'm inspired by the work that you do and wish I could do something along the same lines.