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.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mutability: A Tin Can Tourist's Trip to Downtown Tallahassee

When the mercury dropped to record lows over the weekend, Secret Aging Man and I--temporarily known as Tin Can Tourists--had few options for entertainment, but that fact didn't spoil our fun. We awoke on Saturday morning to realize that we had not left the water dripping from the faucets as my mom had wisely suggested in her phone call the night before. Fortunately, the pipes in the camper were not damaged, but an ice plug in a hose leading from the outside faucet to the camper was obstructing the flow of water. A neighbor camper--much more experienced at this sort of thing--said she had filled up her water tank on Friday evening and disconnected the outside hose. I learned something else that morning: the shower house at the campground is clean, warm, and seldom used by anyone else, which is just what I like. With showers out of the way, now what do we do? The usual outdoor activities we have begun to enjoy around Tallahassee like hiking and garden walking were out of the question. A quick online search revealed a new-to-us treasure--the Museum of Florida History. Our treasure map took us by this fountain in the Kleman Plaza. Ice in a fountain in Florida's capital is not something you see every day.

I'm sure this plaza is filled with people on warmer days. We didn't see too many of them on Saturday, which is another something that I like. I get to take pictures without feeling like I'm invading someone else's privacy or getting stared/glared at.
I wonder what kinds of voices Florida women have that make them special? Is it just the drawl that sets them apart, or do those voices find expression in unexpected ways? I didn't get to find out on this visit. The ice plugged water line and late start in the day had prevented us from taking our time, and so did a supper invitation from one of SAM's new colleagues. I'm sure I will be back to get my answer before this display leaves the building sometime in April.

Florida's strange history would not be complete without a giant mastodon to consider. These giants disappeared along with the ice sheets that used to cover much of the earth during the last great ice age. No one has been able to figure out exactly why this happened. Were the furry beasts not able to cope with the blazing heat that soon became the norm, or did too many Fred Flintstones and Barney Rubbles find those ribs irresistible?

Here is another display that caught my eye. "Boots, Bustles, & Bitters" sounds like it would make a great song title. I'll have to get Daughter to come up with a good tune while I think of some lyrics. It will be something to keep our minds occupied on these long, cold winter nights and sure beats watching the idiot box.

It's too bad this idea didn't catch on back then. We could have avoided all kinds of trouble and countless debates over climate change.

Florida would not be the state it is today without the influence of these itinerants. I've become an expert in short order at this sort of thing.

I'm happy to report that our world on wheels is a little fancier than this model. It's perfect for one person most of the time and just about right for two people some of the time, especially when it's not so cold outside.

It's a little hard to believe that Florida's citrus history stretches this far back in time. That thing that looks like a crack in the wall represents a huge rift in the history. It was caused by another Great Freeze in Florida that occurred in the 1890s.

By the time I got home yesterday, the damage to the pink grapefruit trees had already been done. All of that lovely growth I was crowing about not long ago has retreated and left behind nothing but these brown-paper memories of former glory. The trees might still be okay if we don't have any more severe cold snaps this winter. There is a chance that new leaves will appear in the spring.

I finally coaxed Peanut out of the house and into the sunshine this afternoon. She will never get used to living in Alaska at this rate.

I filled up the cart three times today with trimmings from the frost-bitten garden. It was necessary to keep the yard looking presentable to potential homebuyers, and it's one of those chores I don't mind doing when the mercury makes its ascent into the range of normal again.
From low to high doth dissolution climb,
And sink from high to low, along a scale
Of awful notes, whose concord shall not fail;
A musical but melancholy chime,
Which they can hear who meddle not with crime,
Nor avarice, nor over-anxious care.
Truth fails not, but her outward forms that bear
The longest date do melt like frosty rime,
That in the morning whitened hill and plain
And is no more; drop like the tower sublime
Of yesterday, which royally did wear
His crown of weeds, but could not even sustain
Some casual shout that broke the silent air,
Or the unimaginable touch of Time.
--"Mutability" by William Wordsworth, 1822--


  1. Glad you could tough out the freezing weather and still have a fun outing. On the extinction question, I'm going with Barney and Fred coming up with barbeque on those giant ribs. :)

  2. You take the best trips and have such a great time. Bummer on all the damage to Florida's crops.

  3. Hello.

    What an interesting post! Since I thought it is always warm in Florida, I'm a little surprised to know that it is very cold there. It's also freezingly cold here. I've always been interested in ancient animals and their fossils so the giant mastodon is very intriguing! Were there lots of them? Take care and thank you so much for sharing all these!

  4. I enjoy sight seeing at off times to avoid the crowds. Too bad about your grapefruit. This weather has done so much damage all across the country.

  5. What a fun thing to do on such a colddddd day!!! I wish we had more museums here that we haven't already been to a thousand times. If you guys ever get the chance (and if you haven't already been there) the MOSI museum in Tampa is awesome)!!! We used to buy family membership when our kids were school age, and it allows admission all over the US and some places overseas too...needless to say, we enjoyed our free admisions all over on vacations and driving trips on weekends. I think you have inspired me to start taking the grands around to all these museums and seeing them in a new way!!! Thanks!

  6. Wow, cold in Florida too? That is a cool museum for a cold day.

  7. The freeze in Florida has been all over the news up here--so sad about all the crops that have been damaged by it. Hopefully, your grapefruit trees will come back next year.

    If you go back to this Museum again, let us know--I'm wondering if Zora Neale Hurston is included in the "Voices of Florida Women." I've always wanted to stop in Eatonville and see if there was some kind of museum there. I read "Their Eyes Were Watching God" many years after college and loved the book; she was a pretty interesting character herself.

    Stay warm!

  8. Yeah, I'll admit, TB. I'm a wimp and a whiner when it comes to cold weather. Don't those ribs remind you of the Flintstones' trip to the drive-in?

    Tina, some of our favorite outings take place close to home, wherever that happens to be at the moment. Seems like you never can be sure where that is with us.

    Sapphire, thank you. This long cold snap has taken quite a few people here by surprise. My husband was trying to buy another small heater for the RV and couldn't find a single one for sale anywhere in Tallahassee. Our neighbor said that one of the major hardware chain stores had to order an extra shipment of heaters from an affiliate in Wisconsin just to keep up with the demand. It reminds me of the last big hurricane season when gas-powered generators were flying off the shelves and then gas stations were running out of fuel. As for the mastodons, I think they were fairly common here at one time, and that particular skeleton was found at Wakulla Springs which is south of Tallahassee.

    Marnie, we seem to share that dislike of crowds with a lot of other bloggers, especially the more "mature" ones. I've been seeing that subject, along with the nasty weather, come up a lot lately.

    Hi, Julie! I'm happy to inspire you. I would like to see the MOSI in Tampa. Museums are great for sparking kids' imaginations, which is especially helpful when it's too cold to play outside.

    Sarah, I'm glad I've kept my old L.L. Bean coat. It's been getting a lot of use lately. I bought it when Thinsulate started gaining popularity, so you know it's getting ancient! I've never been one for fashion, and it really goes out the window when the weather gets this cold.

    Rose, I'm sorry to report that I haven't read that book. I did see the movie on TV a couple of years ago and thought it was great. Isn't it sad that Ms. Hurston died in poverty and relative obscurity? I found this info online about her:

    I will make a point of going back to the museum and seeing that display the next time I visit SAM. And I will look for that book at the library on my next visit there.

  9. A very nice post. I liked the mammoth skeleton and the vintage electric car the most :)

    Rajasthani Turbans

  10. Great pictures! Thanks for visiting my blog, great to meet a freelance writer, hoping it might happen for me this year..!!

    Best wishes, CJ xx

  11. I should get out more. I will come May.

  12. Congratulations on getting published!!! are moving to Alaska???

  13. Beautiful and fantastic series of Lovely and great Shots !! I am amazed at the location !! I loved the Elephant skeleton most !!

  14. I was sorry to see all the damage in the south..I'm glad that you didn't have pipe problems, but sorry about the garden losses. It's funny but it's been so cold here that it was in the upper 30's and I was outside for almost 2 hours. It didn't seem bad and the mess under the bird feeders needed to be cleaned up... Michelle

  15. Thanks, Bhavesh. Those are two of my favorite pics too.

    CJ, "freelance" is a bit of a joke here. I'm "free" to write about what I want because I don't get paid for writing--yet. It's a key word, that yet. I'm happy to have you as a visitor and commenter and wish you all the best with your writing career.

    TC, didn't that publishing dude say something about walking? It was positive advice. He wasn't telling you to take a hike. Stay limber, my friend!

    CM, the writers' group has been a big help to me this year, encouraging both of us, SAM and me, to continue writing and submitting. The book is a baby step, I'll admit, but it's a step. No, I'm not moving to Alaska. Daughter has plans to move there with Mr. T after the wedding. Peanut is her cat (supposedly). I have a feeling that Daughter will be giving her up to our care and paying cat support. Thanks for stopping by!

    Thank you, Bharat! I can't stop thinking about that step well you posted about. Fascinating place.

    Hi, Michelle! I'm hoping to post with your meme sometime this week. I haven't been outside much lately and have been preoccupied with family stuff. It's warming up nicely here this week.

  16. I've been on the lookout for those mastodons now that the cold air has retaken over the peninsula ... ! Funny freeze story, but fortunately a near miss.

  17. Great pics.Your imagination involving mastodons and Fred flintstone was funny.

  18. I weep with you on your grapefruit tree damage! Every spring I go outside and get really excited about new growth and then BAM huge hailstorm.Mother nature can be both kind and cruel. I loved your photos and esp. the story about your pipes, I just can't believe how cold it got there!


  19. Mr. S, as soon as it warms up, SAM and I plan on visiting Wakulla Springs, where the mastodon was found. We've heard that it's a lovely place for kayaking and exploring.

    Thank you, THL. The rib image was just too good to ignore.

    Rosey, I'm not going to cry yet. The grapefruit trees might pull through, and everyone's good wishes can't hurt their recovery. Thank you for yours!

  20. I thank you for visiting me and glad to know that "composting" as my new year's resolution was in Maine, I have to seek it daily! My brother lives in Key West and I've been awfully worried about the freeze there for you folks. Sounds like you've taken it all in stride and inspire too, with all your pics, poetry and wonder...take care-
    Terry aka truewonder

  21. Thank you, Terry. It's finally warming up here and raining a lot lately. As you can imagine, the real composting doesn't take long to finish its course here. Stay warm up there in Maine!

  22. Thanks for your visit and valuable comment..I have sent you a mail regarding the transcript of my video film.

    Hope to see u in kerala as a tourist.

    In Florida, winter is so powerful? Very interesting post..I feel that I've'een reading a Victorian story..Nice pictures also..Thanks for letting us informing ongoing things in your place.

  23. I followed your comment at Switched at Birth on over here.

    Sounds like you made the best of the weather. In my 20 years in south Florida, the only bad cold was in 1989, when the iguanas dropped frozen from the trees and frogfish floated up dead of cold in Biscayne Bay.

    Hope the grapefruits make it.

  24. I thought for certain I had left a comment earlier...

    I'm very sympathetic regarding your tin can abode. We were in ours for a very extended period of time during our renovation. If we had been in ours for the cold freeze I would have packed up and and gone to a hotel so I think you're very brave. I wish you great luck with your house sale - whenever that is. Soon, I hope.

  25. Tomz, you tell a compelling story, and I wish you well in your journalism career. I would love to visit your Kerala someday.

    Kathleen, I'm glad you decided to visit when you saw my comment on Beth's site. Your karma bowl post got me thinking...

    Paula, thanks for stopping in! I hope you're more comfortable now in permanent surroundings. The one thing I wish for right now is: Beam me up, Scottie! I don't like that drive to Tallahassee.