per·i·pa·tet·ic
ˌperēpəˈtedik/
adjective
  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.
    Aristotelian.
noun
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Oysters to Pearls--Why are Those Sands of Time So Irritating?




The worst of sluggards only ask for a little slumber; they would be indignant if
they were accused of thorough idleness. A little folding of the hands to sleep
is all they crave, and they have a crowd of reasons to show that this indulgence
is a very proper one. Yet by these littles the day ebbs out, and the time for
labour is all gone, and the field is grown over with thorns. It is by little
procrastinations that men ruin their souls. They have no intention to delay for
years--a few months will bring the more convenient season--tomorrow if you will,
they will attend to serious things; but the present hour is so occupied and
altogether unsuitable, that they beg to be excused. Like sands from an
hour-glass, time passes, life is wasted by driblets, and seasons of grace lost
by little slumbers. Oh, to be wise, to catch the flying hour, to use the moments
on the wing! -- Morning and Evening Daily Readings by
Charles H. Spurgeon --



I don't eat oysters, at least not raw ones, but I always find pearls at the beach in Pensacola. When I saw this elasmobranch--a ray of some kind--slowing its pace to a crawl within inches of my feet on the morning of the new moon's appearance, my mind started racing. The old mind took a while to warm up. What was that book I read years ago about a giant manta ray--Manta Diablo--and a pearl? Was it Steinbeck's novella? No. I read that one again. Kino did not battle a ray, though there was some kind of devil dogging his footsteps. Why rack the old brain or follow loose ends online when someone at the library probably knows the answer? Scott O'Dell's The Black Pearl. Yep. That's the one. I'm not too proud to ask. Now if only I could figure out what kind of ray this is!


video

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Nature Notes--'The World is Charged'--a Regal Sunset at Fort Pickens


Just before sunset on All Saints' Day, I found these monarchs, Danaus plexippus, settling in for the evening on a tree at Fort Pickens. They must have been taking a breather while enroute to Mexico. I wonder if they had to recalibrate for the coming calamity.





God's Grandeur






The world is charged with the grandeur of God.



It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;



It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil



Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?



Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;



And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;



And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil



Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.



And for all this, nature is never spent;



There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;



And though the last lights off the black West went



Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs--



Because the Holy Ghost over the bent



World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.



--Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1877--
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Please visit Ramblingwoods.com for more Nature Notes posts this week.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Breaking Wind, Anyone? I'd--uh--Rather Not!


Turn on the television today in Northwest Florida, and you are likely to hear reports of "Breaking News, Breaking Weather..." The disaster preparedness people in Florida take their storms seriously, and I'm glad. People living in flood-prone areas can find shelter in various public buildings, but guns and alcohol--according to one of the spokespeople on the news--are not welcome. We have taken our own precautions in preparation for what is now Tropical Storm Ida by putting up storm shutters, securing loose items in the yard, and taking pictures of items that seem to take their cue from the approaching storm. This Camellia sasanqua "Yuletide" has already dropped some blossoms but would be well-advised to cease opening any more buds for at least another day or so.

Yesterday afternoon--no kidding--I found another snapping turtle, Chelydra serpentina, taking a break in the middle of our backyard, on its way to higher ground. It appeared to be traveling away from the retention pond constructed by one of our neighbors. The wind might not be breaking too loudly, but the rain promises to break out in abundance.

Peanut, Daughter's cat, decides to investigate the snapper against my advice. She does whatever the heck she wants anyway, like someone else I know. That trait must be a dominant one in this family.


We had heard a few days ago that some kind of storm was imminent, and Peanut must have been sensitive to either the potential "ethereal blow" or the gathering tension in her humans. She hasn't attempted this feat since she was a young'un.



This morning, before the breaking wind and rain prevented a walk, I decided to chronicle the demise of a house down the road from us. It looks like it needs one of those "No Trust Passing" signs I posted about a while back. When SAM still had his real estate license a couple of years ago he contacted the owner of this property about listing it. The owner said he wanted to wait and see about the market going up some more so he could list it for a hefty sum. The house ain't worth much, but the land sure is prime. He might be out of luck for a while.

He fumbles at your Soul
As Players at the Keys
Before they drop full Music on--
He stuns you by degrees--
Prepares your brittle Nature
For the Ethereal Blow
By fainter Hammers--further heard--
Then nearer--Then so slow
Your Breath has time to straighten--
Your Brain --to bubble Cool--
Deals--One--imperial--Thunderbolt--
That scalps your naked Soul--
When Winds take Forests in their Paws--
The Universe--is still--
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a poem by Emily Dickinson, c. 1862

Friday, November 6, 2009

Nature Notes--'Into the Silent Land'


Song of the Silent Land
Into the Silent Land!
Ah! who shall lead us thither?
Clouds in the evening sky more darkly gather,
And shattered wrecks lie thicker on the strand.
Who leads us with a gentle hand
Thither, O thither,
Into the Silent Land?

From where I sit, Friday night football sounds more subdued, though the fireworks that always precede a home game might fool you a bit. The Patriots are playing at home tonight, and the marching band has whipped the crowd into a fervor. Fans might need a little warmth tonight. It's supposed to dip down into the upper 40s or lower 50s, Fahrenheit. At this time of year in Northwest Florida, jackets and sweaters surface and then disappear as the temperature fluctuates throughout the day.

Last Sunday, SAM, Daughter, and I committed a few "sins." We skipped church--SAM was recovering from some form of the flu and didn't want to spread the "joy," we burned several gallons of fossil fuel to visit Fort Pickens, and we--well, I did, actually--spent an inordinate amount of time gazing at the Creation. A large turtle gave us quite a show as we crossed a foot-bridge on the path leading from Battery Worth to the main fort. I think it's a snapping turtle, Chelydra serpentina, but I'm no expert on turtles. I have decided it is quite old since it has algae growing on its body. Anything that moves slowly here is liable to grow something green.

At one of the batteries we visited--Worth or Langdon, I can't remember which one--I noticed this bit of art work peering out of a dark yet green corner.


Daughter doesn't like this picture. Do you think I care? She's packing tonight to visit Mr. T for a few days in the Lone Star State.


Into the Silent Land!
To you, ye boundless regions
Of all perfection! Tender morning visions
Of beauteous souls! The Future's pledge and band
Who in Life's battle firm doth stand,
Shall bear Hope's tender blossoms
Into the Silent Land!

O Land! O Land!
For all the broken-hearted
The mildest herald by our fate allotted,
Beckons, and with inverted torch doth stand
To lead us with a gentle hand
Into the land of the great Departed,
Into the Silent Land!
--a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow--
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Please visit Ramblingwoods.com to see what other people have found in nature to post about this week. I just did, and it seems that Michelle and I may have found something quite similar!