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.

Friday, January 1, 2010

NN/SOTS: 'Expatiate Free O'er All This Scene of Man'

Awake, my St. John! leave all meaner things
To low ambition, and the pride of kings...
Let us (since life can little more supply
Than just to look about us and to die)
--from Alexander Pope's An Essay on Man, 1733--


By the time a New Year is upon us, cooler weather has usually lulled our Florida garden into a slower, more manageable growth rate. The past two months, though, have given us a run for our money with a greater-than-normal amount of rainfall. My pink carpet roses have begun to bloom again, and the lantana sneaks through the screened lanai. If I don't soon nip it in the bud, it will send even more shoots poking through the screen and wrap itself around our feet as we sun ourselves on the patio. I could imagine it dragging us by the ankles to the pool, over the edge of the concrete, and into the chilly water--if I were inclined toward something approaching nihilistic thinking. The recent climate-change conference in Copenhagen revealed a whole host of people inclined in that direction. Apparently, some of those people haven't a clue or don't care what sort of message that kind of thinking and behavior sends to children. Are we headed toward swift and sure annihilation, pushed over the edge of a climate-change cliff by a cloud of greenhouse gases? Who's to say? A bunch of scientists and politicians can't see the future, unless they have some supernatural ability I'm not aware of. Is it right to take sensible steps as stewards of the earth to protect it and its inhabitants? Of course--all of the inhabitants, including the human kind, deserve care and respect.

Expatiate free o'er all this scene of man;
A mighty maze! but not without a plan;

A wild, where weeds and flowers promiscuous shoot,
Or garden, tempting with forbidden fruit.


Our pink grapefruit trees have put on a shamefully prodigious growth spurt in the past couple of months. Now that the one fruit has been picked and eaten, they are free to use their energy for branching out and putting on new leaves.

Daughter and Mr. T have also decided to branch out a bit. Why do you suppose he's on one knee? Look carefully at Daughter's left hand.

Together let us beat this ample field,
Try what the open, what the covert yield;
The latent tracts, the giddy heights, explore
Of all who blindly creep, or sightless soar;
I don't remember much sign language because I haven't practiced it very much. Daughter and I took a signing class a few years ago. She had a massage client at that time who was deaf, and she wanted to be able to communicate more effectively with him and other hearing-impaired people. I went along to the class for moral support and because I thought we could practice together and not lose what we learned. Somehow, we managed to forget about practicing and have forgotten most of what little we did learn. I do remember some of the alphabet, though, and it seems to me that Micah is signing the letter "F" in this picture. Ever since he was a tiny baby, he has been very expressive with his hands. I've read that babies seem to have ways of communicating quite well before they even begin to speak, if we are careful enough to take note. Micah is already talking up a storm and putting coherent sentences together, but I think he still likes to use his hands. We were being told to smile for the camera, and he couldn't talk at this point. Or maybe he wanted to say something abstract like "I love my family" and didn't have the right words in mind just yet.

Eye Nature's walks, shoot folly as it flies,
And catch the manners living as they rise;
Yesterday I took a walk with Mr. T while Daughter was at work. He's here for a few more days before he has to return to Texas, and a walk seemed like a good opportunity to talk about stuff. I took the camera along because I had seen something along the road not far from where that falling-down house stands. Whatever this thing is, it's been in this spot for about a month now, standing up through repeated rains and high winds. To me, it looks like a version of Father Time, lifting up his arms. Is it in supplication or in warning, I wonder? I thought about pushing the weeds aside to discover what it's made of--plastic, paper?--but then I decided to leave it in place for other walkers to see and wonder about.

Laugh where we must, be candid where we can;
But vindicate the ways of God to man.
--from Pope's essay as above--

Guess what's on our New Year's Day menu? Beans, of course, and some of this beautiful stuff from the garden.
Please visit and see what's been keeping other lively imaginations busy this week in their Nature Notes/Signs of the Season posts. (I hope Michelle doesn't mind too much that I've shortened the reference to her meme to NN/SOTS!)


  1. You have a beautiful garden with wonderful blooms. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi!

    Hope 2010 is off to a great start for you. I just noticed you Have my Chicago Garden blog on your blogroll and wanted to tell you that I added yours to the blogroll for that blog. Thanks for the link love!

    Here's to great things in 2010 for all of us.

  3. Congrats to your daughter!! I see a sparkly diamond engagement ring!

    Ms. Applebaum mentions a few statements made by radicals: "apocalyptic as well as the anti-human prejudices of the climate change movement," the National Park Service ecologist's crude statement about humans being a "plague" upon themselves, I could go on.

    I find the use of alarmists language offensive, crass, and disrespectful. Using scare tactics like that is unethical journalism. It doesn't matter which side of the fence they're on, if an organization/company/group/reporter/journalist/writer, etc., uses doom and gloom scare tactics, I give them no credit and what they say is immediately dismissed from my consideration.

    Alexander Pope's essay is reassurance enough for me that something a lot more powerful than man is in control.

    "And Nature tremble to the throne of God! / All this dread order break--for whom? for thee? / Vile worm!--O madness! pride! impiety!"

  4. Congrats on gaining a new son-in-law!!! He looks like a mighty fine young man!!! Handsome too!

    Are those collards I see there to eat with beans??? My little seedlings are so small still...can't wait to see them this big!!!

  5. I did look at NN SOTS for a bit and wondered what it was LOL. No, I don't mind a bit...I had some hope for Copenhagen, but then my husband accuses me of having pollyanna type tendencies...sigh. Oh a big Congrats to your daughter. Did he have to stay on one knee for a long time or was this an re-enactment? Your grandson is adorable. I too have read that babie's biggest challenge in making us understand what they want. There is a baby sign language or is that regular sign language? You have flowers and beans, I have snow and well.. more snow... Happy New Year... Michelle

  6. Thanks, Eileen. Closeup shots like these do wonders for the overall garden image--which can always stand some improvement from my perspective!

    MBT, you're quite welcome and thanks too. This year is shaping up to be pretty fine so far. Clink! I love these virtual toasts--zero calories and no cognitive or motor impairment.

    Thanks, TC. Now you know why I might have seemed a little cranky about the topic of climate change on your blog. Some people take the notion a little too close to the edge. There is a definite and dangerous herd mentality at work in situations like this one, especially if popular figures step forward and flaunt their influence. "Some[one] a lot more powerful than man is in control," I would add and am thankful for. Great choice of quotes you added!

    Yes, Julie, on all accounts. He is a fine young man, and those are collard greens. I pressure-cooked a pot-ful of chopped greens with a little onion and lean bacon, a splash of orange juice plus sherry vinegar, as well as a touch of brown sugar, and even Mr. T seemed to enjoy them with the beans. He's not much for southern style cooking, but we (Daughter and I) have a lifetime ahead of us to convince him that some southern style ain't too bad!

  7. Congratulations to your daughter! This surely must have made for an exciting Christmas at your house.

    I didn't have high hopes for Copenhagen, frankly. I've become so cynical about politicians that I don't expect anything too productive from them anymore. But I hope that doesn't stop each and everyone of us from doing our part in preserving the environment. Perhaps a grassroots movement is the only approach that will work.

    Thanks for your recent comments on my last post. It's a touchy subject, isn't it? I do respect diversity and certainly don't want to offend anyone, but I think that should include Christians as well. I can't see that a Christmas tree on display or a wish for a Merry Christmas can hurt anyone.

    Best wishes for a very happy New Year!

  8. You're not a pollyanna, Michelle, not in the negative sense of the word. It would be wonderful if people from around the world would come to a consensus about taking care of the earth, but economic and cultural differences and expectations will always complicate the issue. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. The people who care and can afford to do something about it should pledge their own money for research and development, and then see how quickly things will turn around. Americans tend to forget how much philanthropists have done for this country's well-being, and the rest of the world needs to pay attention as well. I know I'm more likely to shell out the bucks for a good cause when I see the promoter truly investing in it and not just paying lip service to it.

    Daughter's fiance didn't have to stay down for long. The first pic I took was of the back of his head, so I scooted around to the other side of them and quickly took this shot. It was so sweet that he got up early that morning before Daughter was awake and asked our permission for her hand. He's usually fairly cool about most things, but he seemed nervous that day! He needn't have worried. We think very highly of him.

    Micah's hand gesturing tendency might be inherited. His grandpa "talks" with his hands quite a lot, almost to the point of embarrassment in public situations.

    Stay safe and warm in all of that snow, Michelle!

    Rose, at least Copenhagen started the ball rolling and got people talking. We all need to think for ourselves about what's doable on a small scale and then put our heads together for a larger scale effort. You're right about the grassroots approach. Federal mandates and more bureaucracy aren't going to solve anything and will end up dividing this country even more.

    I hope we never feel like we can't rationally discuss things like Christmas trees with each other. When I was younger, public opinion about Christians was so negative for a variety of reasons that I almost felt ashamed of that heritage. Then I realized that it's not just a heritage but also a matter of personal commitment and responsibility. Negativity doesn't bother me anymore. Complacency sure does, though! I'm glad you posted about the subject. It's healthy to get things out in the open and learn from each other. Happy New Year to you and your family!

  9. Happy New Year!

    Congratulations to your daughter!
    How happy you are!
    Really surprised to find your pink carpet roses are beautifully in bloom! Here roses bloom in autumn too but rarely in winter.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Looking forward to your posts in 2010!

  10. Hi,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog! It is always nice to "meet" a new blogger! I have enjoyed looking at your blog, lots of fun stuff here! You have a beautiful family! I am going to have to check out the NN/SOTS site. Thanks...

  11. Thank you, Sapphire! I was surprised to see those roses myself. We had a hard freeze last night, and more of the same is expected for the next few days, so I'm not sure that they will last much longer. They are planted on the south side of the screened lanai and protected by the groundcover gardenias so maybe they'll continue to bloom. Happy New Year to you!

  12. I join your concern about our future on this planet. Beautiful post and my congrats to your daughter and her fiance. On bent knee next to a treadmill, now, that's what I call modern! :-)

    Greetings from London.

  13. Hello, Rosey Pollen! I'm glad to meet you too. Thanks for your kind words and for following the blog. I think you will like Michelle's site. She is one of the nicest people and very helpful if you have a problem identifying just about any kind of critter you can think of.

    Aha, ACIL! You've discovered my secret for walking when the weather doesn't allow for it outdoors. This is the time of year when I put it to work. I'll convey your congrats to the Daughter and almost-SIL. Thank you!

  14. CONGRATS to your daughter! I know you guys are MOST happy!

  15. Being a highly visual person NN/SOTS reminded me of something, um, nasal. There, I said it.

    It has been a very strange year. Hardly a summer and now this fluctuating hot and cold. It's a wonder the garden knows what to do at all.

    Don't get me started on the scientific "community". They're too busy with their methodology and their tenure anxiety to deal with what is happening. They have their reputations to protect, not the planet. That's why it's called climate change instead of global warming. Yes, I'm just that skeptical about their ability to deliver.

    Congratulations of Miss Lovely's engagement. Does this mean she'll be moving to Texas? Are you guys moving?

  16. An engagement, how exciting. Congratulations!!! It's really hard to top that for a Christmas gift:)

  17. Tina, you betcha! We have known Mr. T for almost six years now and watched a close friendship blossom into romance. It doesn't get much better than that.

    Paula, thank you. I'm puzzled as to why no one else commented on the acronym. I guess they think I might take offense. Good thing you know better. Yes, Ms. Lovely will be moving but not to TX. Mr. T is only there for some kind of AF Reserves training and plans on hauling her off to Alaska after the wedding. SAM and I are moving too but not to Alaska. We are both Tallahassee bound as soon as we either sell the house or rent it out. Wanna buy it?

    Thanks, Marnie. Actually, the nicest part was Mr. T waking up early on Christmas morning and humbly asking for Daughter's hand in marriage. I didn't think young men did that anymore.

  18. Congratulations on the addition to your family!

  19. An interesting train of thoughts. But we humans need to slow our pace a bit or Nature will take over, evolution continue and things a bit difficult for us. Climate change is hyped to some extent, but is a truth we can't turn our backs to.
    And glad for you to have a nice family and garden to tend for.

  20. Thanks, Caron. The more, the merrier!

    THL, welcome and thank you for visiting and commenting! Trains are your specialty, I see. I hope you write some more train-related stories. Our grandson is fascinated by them. He got his first train set for Christmas, a very simple one, and he's really enjoying it.

  21. Congrats to daughter! Two new rings were on two of my nieces fingers as well. Wow, two more reasons to get back home to TN this year! Looks like you had a wonderful Christmas and are ringing in the New Year on the right foot!

  22. Family times ... and a time to think about family far away that you can't be with. I agree with you about sending the message. The higher good (and civility plus common sense) has got to prevail.

  23. Hi, Skeeter! Thanks. Looks like the wedding business is booming this year even if nothing else. We were discussing wedding locations, and the idea of a Gatlinburg wedding came up. We'd better get our act together soon because summer will be here before we know it!

    True, Mr. S. Sometimes, though, distance from the ones you love goes way beyond the geographic kind. If that kind of distance exists among family members, how can agreement on what even constitutes the higher good, civility, and common sense occur among different nations and their various political groups, cultures, and religions? It will always be a challenge, for sure.

  24. Hi W2W, hope you and SAM are having a great time with your daughter now engaged. Congratulations to her. Your words are so poetic that it almost touches and rocks me in it's lap. Great photos. That lil' ball of joy - he's so sweet!

  25. Congratulations to your daughter!

    I’ve heard that babies can learn sign language before spoken language, which is more difficult. I guess pointing would be a good example.

    It is fun to watch your adorable grandson grow up on your blog. That is one cool go-car.

    The author responded to your Central Park question on my blog.

  26. Hi, Chandramouli! It's good to see your comments again. Thank you. We will really be empty-nesters now that Daughter is marrying and moving to Alaska. I hope she survives the climate there after having lived in Florida for six years! People tell me that the beauty of the place more than makes up for the cold. Ha! Sure it does!

    Thank you, Sarah. You know, I thought he was just pointing until I looked more closely at the picture. He's not using his index finger. It's tucked behind his thumb. I think his mom and other grandma did teach him some sign language when he was an infant. He's going to be bilingual too, since his mom is from Peru. Thanks for following up on my question. I look forward to reading what Ms. L writes about Central Park and, of course, her novels too.

  27. Thanks for coming to visit the Chronicles.

    I love the pictures and the quotations from Pope really set them off.

    As far as lightening up in 2010 -- do you know why angels can fly? Because they take themselves lightly....

  28. All the photos are good :) and your fishing buddy on the sidebar-roll is so sweet :)

    Rays of Hope

  29. Thanks for your visit and comment, Jeanne. I need some more humor in my life so I've added your site to my bloglist. My dad used to say that angels could fly because they were full of marshmallows. That was his answer to my question about where marshmallows came from.

    Thanks, Bhavesh. We think he's pretty special. I'm glad you stopped by for a visit.

  30. Hope your lovely flowers are not ruined by the cold spell hitting your state.
    Happy New Year!
    Congrats upon the news from "bent knee!"
    As for learning ASL, I used to be fluent in it because two of my university degrees involve working with Hearing Impaired people. I learned ASL, though, out of college long before graduation and my majors declared, during a summer because I thought knowing it would allow me to help others and it was my own idea not my parents nor teachers, amazingly. Great experience. Yes, babies and kids pick up on our language...of any type.

  31. Thanks, Gel! I'm glad to see that you are posting again. I will be over to visit soon. Your interest in ASL seems to have influenced your career choice in a good direction, so your decision to take the class was wise, even at such a young age. I'm not worried about the flowers that have been affected by the freeze. The roses and the lantana are very hardy. The grapefruit trees, though, might have some trouble recovering. They're young, and I've got them well-mulched and protected near the base of the trunk, so there's a chance they will be okay.