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.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Here I Sit, All Broken-Hearted...

Here I sit, all broken-hearted.
I thought I was done, but, no, I've just started.
Fifty hours of service (at least!) to give,
And ten hours in plant clinic--
Will I live?
I'll know in December if they think I'm okay.
After reading this post,
What would you say? 

From a gardener's perspective, how in the world could I be broken-hearted when the Knockout roses are blooming in synch with this Oenothera (showy evening primrose) in my garden?
Well, there's this seed experiment I participated in. We received these large beans to plant in various growing media, using different methods to induce germination. The beans have a very hard seed coat, and the only two that have sprouted after two weeks are the one that was soaked in vinegar (all the way on the left)...
...and this sorry specimen, which was beaten severely with a hammer. Mechanical manipulation of the seed coat in this case went terribly wrong. I literally beat the daylights out of it. To make matters worse, I can't remember what these plants are. Yesterday was my last MG class, and I left my notebook with the name of the plant written on it in the classroom. At least I think I did. I might have left it outside when we were looking for mole crickets amid signs of armadillo damage to the turf grass. Somewhere between the soap flush test for mole crickets and the goodbyes to fellow classmates, I set down that notebook with four months' worth of notes and forgot it, along with the name of this plant. Oh well! I may never find the notebook, but I will see those classmates again. We have a project to complete by mid October and much planning to do before it's done. I may be mentally rapping myself in the head with my knuckles over the mangled seed and misplaced notebook, but I'm not broken-hearted because of them.

If I don't get these trees in the ground pretty soon, one of those classmates may not speak to me again. She gave me these native swamp chestnut oaks and bald cypress trees last week with the understanding that I would plant them ASAP. It was beautiful outside yesterday, and those trees should have been planted. What did I do after class yesterday morning? I sat on the front porch swing, noting the drive-by snooters--people who stare, stop to pull a spec sheet from the "For Sale" sign box in the front yard, and drive on by--and kept on looking at the trees in the bucket. I was imagining what they would look like twenty years from now. You see, I can do that now without regret. We haven't sold the house, and we are taking it off the market, at least until the market is more favorable. If it takes a few years, so be it. At least I'll get to see these trees grow and thrive. So I'm not broken-hearted about having to leave my home for good.
We sold the kayak after that last trip on Lake Talquin. It wasn't because we don't like it. On the contrary, it's been one of the best boats we've ever owned--no fossil fuel required!--and we have enjoyed every minute we spent pedaling and paddling it. It's just that it weighs more than two aging people can easily handle without injuring themselves. I'm not sure if I'm broken-hearted about selling the thing or the fact that my back ain't what it used to be. No; I'm not exactly broken-hearted about the kayak.
Last weekend while I was visiting SAM in Tallahassee, probably while we were enjoying ourselves on a hike, Son was having his "best friend" put to sleep. Rocky came into our family about 15 years ago when he showed up at Son's workplace. He was a stray, and I resisted adopting yet another pet for a while. It didn't take long, though, for Rocky to wriggle his roly-poly self into our hearts. This love for the mutt somehow developed despite the fact that he loved to dig, uprooting many of my plants, and also managed to kill several trees over the years by urinating on them. He was especially fond of evergreens for some reason. Over the past decade and a half, I must have walked Rocky enough to go at least halfway around the planet. Then a few years ago, he developed a dog's version of arthritis and lately several painful tumors on his legs and feet, making it difficult for him to walk at all. He became anorexic. It was time to let him go. Yes; he was just a dog, but he kept me company on all of those walks. Even in mostly flat Florida, it was uphill all the way for him, listening in silence and wagging his tail while I griped, grumbled, and complained about things, sometimes even out loud! He never judged me, not once, not at all.


Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yea, beds for all who come.

--a poem by Christina Rossetti, 1858--


  1. My heart goes out to you on the loss of Rocky, W2W. Your description of him and your experience reminds me so much of our last dog, Roco, except that my daughter found Roco at the local shelter when he was 9 years old. He only spent 3 years with us before a fast-growing tumor forced us to put him to sleep, but I like to think they were his happiest years, and it was enough time for him to find a permanent place in our hearts. My daughter and I still laugh often about some of the things he did, and I have a little memorial garden for him that I tend every year. I know you and your family won't easily forget your special companion.

    I didn't know you were taking the Master Gardener classes, too! I finished up two weeks ago, and I was worried about completing all the volunteer hours. But so far I've already racked up quite a few, so it shouldn't be as difficult as I thought. I don't know about you, but even though I learned so much, I realize how much I still don't know:)

  2. I'm so very sorry to hear the news about Rocky. Such a sad time we all must go through if we love animals. Their lives are so short.

  3. So sad on Rocky. It is a terrible point in life when we get to it. Not one I ever want to contemplate even though I know it is there. I do hope you find those notes. Chin up, plant those trees and take it one day at a time. You know we never sold our house in Indiana? It is rented and we make more money than we would have had we sold it. Irony indeed. Hang in there.

  4. Very sorry to hear your sad news about Rocky. Funny how these muts worm their way into your heart.

    I hope you locate your notebook and get those trees planted before classmate finds out.

    Enjoyable reading. Thanks

  5. May you find comfort in your loss. Hugs.

  6. Sorry to hear about Rocky. It is always so hard to lose a beloved pet. They are just "your heart". I'm sure he will be waiting for you all at Rainbow Bridge!

    Congrats on finishing your MG course! That is a major acheivement!!! Now the fun part begins...the volunteering! You will really enjoy that!!!

    Can you find a lighter weight kayak? I am not familiar with them at all. A friend of mine went canoeing and I saw the pics later...this one couple had this thing that went over the top of their canoe and it had two pontoons to make the thing wider and you could store all of your food, etc. down in the canoe. They had lounge chairs up top and a big umbrella cover was over the top as well. I told my friend if I ever had a canoe, I would have that whole set up! That was cruising in style!!!

  7. It's good to pass things along: that way other people get to enjoy them (and you potentially vicariously through them ... even if you have to imagine it). We have some sweet peas growing from seed. Fun to watch!

  8. Thanks, all of you, for your condolences. It might seem silly to some people to write about a dog's death, but pets have such a profound effect on their people's lives that it seems disingenuous not to mention their passing. Rocky appeared in a post I did quite a while back, so it seemed only natural to say goodbye to him here on the blog. I don't like to leave loose ends lying about. Oh, I found the notebook yesterday when I put in a couple of hours weeding at the Extension demo gardens. Someone found it and turned it in to the Lost & Found. Hooray! I will write more about the bean if it grows up, though I'm not sure where to plant it. I don't have a trellis strong enough to hold the plant!

  9. I am so sorry to hear of your loss--something all of us who love our pets dread. My thoughts are with you.

    Good for you for completing a MG course; it is a challenging program. My husband is a several year veteran in MGs and is volunteering this very evening at the MG's booth at our local World of Nations festival. Yes, it does call for many hours of service, for which all the rest of us thank you!

  10. I am sorry about the loss of your 'friend' is never easy and they are never just a 'dog' or 'cat'...

  11. Hey..very nice post..
    very nostalgic..
    The first rhyming poem is surely written from a gardeners perspective. It is very nostalgic, and portrayed the longing of a nature lover for the next flower in her plant..

    Well Rosetti's lost poem brought back all the memories of my school days..

    Thank you for this beautiful post..

    and about ur comment in my Pretty Littima post..
    Of course, it was you who has came closer to the truth..perhaps she might be the victim of neighborhood gossiping..

  12. and it was sad to hear the loss of your son's good friend, 'Rocky'

  13. Mary, I'm encouraged to think that I might be able to continue this MG commitment beyond the first year. It's been rewarding so far, and I'd like to find a niche in the organization to fill. Thanks for commenting!

    Michelle, thanks. Rocky was technically just a "granddog," but as usually happens when a child insists on bringing home a stray, the grand-pet becomes a family responsibility. But then, maybe that's as it should be. Pets do tend to bring family members closer together.

    Tomz, you are welcome! I'm so glad that you liked my post. You write provocatively, in a good sense of the word. Your posts always linger on in my thoughts long after I've read them. Keep up the good work!

  14. I thoroughly enjoyed your post today. I applaud you for going through the MG course, something I've always wanted to do. Rocky wasn't just a dog, but part of your family. I'm sorry for your loss. ~karen

  15. I should read more of Rossetti's poems. We critiqued "Goblin's Market" in college (Brit lit):

    Did you know that if you stay serious about master gardener stuff, it's a lifetime dedication? I'm in my 7th year and busier than ever.

    You never said what it were that makes you broken hearted.

    I think December will bring MG certification!