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, May 7, 2010

NN/SOTS: Bellying Up to the (Oil Slick) Bar--The Tweedledum/Tweedledee Dilemma

The Write Gardener is observant (smart, too!). He noted in a comment on my last post that I never said "what it were" that had broken my heart. Is it ever just one thing? By the time you reach middle age, life gets so complicated that it couldn't possibly be just one thing. One thing can't make you happy. "Contrariwise" (as someone wise once said--think Through the Looking-Glass), one thing doesn't break your heart. Take this bivalve, for example--or what's left of it. It's a cockle shell, maybe a Van Hyning's cockle (Dinocardium robustum vanhyningi), less than half or just one part of the whole animal. It's missing the best part, the thing that kept it alive and held it together. Daughter and I found it Wednesday evening on the beach down by Fort Pickens. She had the day off from work, and we wanted to see the white sandy beach one more time and maybe have a margarita together in honor of Cinco de Mayo. The boardwalk on Quietwater Beach was practically deserted, and the bartender at Bamboo Willie's was more interested in watching the barmaids and the gals standing outside Hooters' next door than serving a middle-aged woman, even if she was accompanied by a pretty, young one. We left after about ten minutes and bought our own margarita fixins' at the Publix on the way home. The drinks were cheaper and better anyway. Before we left the boardwalk, I overheard someone say that the tourists are staying away in droves. Maybe the wildlife that's left here and there among the high-rise condos, restaurants, and bars will get a rest from all the traffic and noise. That's my foot, by the way, toenails not polished yet. I'm still trying to find that perfect Verbena purple...

...or perhaps Portugese Man O'War blue.
Daughter is just as fond as I am of walking, but she steps to the beat of a different drummer when it comes to unsolicited advice, even if it's just about wearing shoes on the beach. She insisted on walking barefoot, at least until we saw that Man O'War. She has always been a strong-willed child, and she won't change just to suit me, thank goodness. In fact, she won't change to suit anyone--person, that is. I guess that's why things didn't work out so well for her and Mr. T. Maybe she does take after me, now that I think about it. I'm not happy about the recent Gulf oil slick, but I'm not angry at BP for causing it. Why should I be? I live in Florida, a complex and sensitive collection of ecosystems. I leave a footprint here, a footprint there, a footprint everywhere I go, especially while driving a car. Anyone who lives on the coast or near a body of water should know that living the good life with all of its amenities has a huge impact on a fragile environment. You would think that people have forgotten, though, with all of the hateful words being aimed at BP and Big Oil in general. They're being held accountable for every bird, fish, or turtle that dies now or in the future. I guess that all of the frenzied coastal and waterfront construction and subsequent devastation to wildlife due to loss of habitat and poisoning it over the course of several decades don't count in the same way. If people were honest about it, they would see that it's like Tweedledum or Tweedledee--essentially the same though different. We lovers of waterways want to have our cake--or seafood--and eat it too. And if it makes us sick, well, let's find someone else to blame. Someone else needs to belly up to the bar and pay for it. Only it isn't that simple. If BP gets punched in the eye, guess who else gets black-and-blue? We all do. Oil prices go up, and investors get even more uneasy. An already fragile economy teeters closer to the edge of a precipice. So, let's say we don't have any more oil exploration. I don't think we have a viable alternative to the messy stuff yet.  

Now, about that eating... Think about what happens to what you've eaten after a few days. Sure, it goes through a water treatment facility, where it gets treated with chemicals and mixed with who-knows-what else that goes down thousands of other drains. Or, maybe you have a septic system on your property like we do, in good working order, of course! Where does all of that you-know-what in various stages of "clean" eventually end up? The Gulf or some other ocean. Yes, I know I'm being crude here, but we're all in this life together. It takes more than one thing or company or industry to make a mess. We live in a composite world, and it ain't always "the berries." Can't we all get along, make the best of a bad situation, leave off thinking terrible thoughts about each other or--even worse--threatening each other with lawsuits, curses, and bombs? So, I have been broken-hearted lately. Is it the curse of being empathic? I don't know. There is a whole lot of negativity swirling around in this old world lately.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.

Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
As black as a tar-barrel;
Which frightened both the heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel.

--from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass--

Sunset at Fort Pickens, May 5, 2010

Please visit for this week's Nature Notes/Signs of the Season post and links to other posts by bloggers like me (or not, as the case may be)--which is as it should be, don't you think? It would be too boring if we were all exactly alike. 


  1. I agree with everything you said regarding the oil spill. I am tryig to figure out the color Verbena purple!!! I was looking at my also unpainted toemails (which are looking discolored these days due to garden dirt daily...and thinking I needed the perfect dark shade of polish to cover it, but yet not too dark for a 53 year old. I must find this shade of verbena purple!!! LOL!

    Cute toes, BTW!!! That margarita sounded prety good just now!!!

  2. You have a good point that makes sense to me. I so hope your pristine beaches stay so. Looks like a fun walk! I miss the beach!

  3. Hmmm...point taken...but I am still furious with BP...and pretty ticked off at most of humanity most of the time lately....My health can be fragile just like the ecosystem and we both are both crying for what has been lost...Michelle

  4. Indeed, we are in this together, even if we don't know what "this" is half the time. At least we don't act like we do. Trash keeps pilin up, out my back door, and everybody else's. And the garbage man (ever wonder why you never see a garbage woman?) keeps driving his monstrous truck over my iris bed! (But quits once the irises are up enough to see, thank-you Mr. Garbage Man.) And there's always one straggler in the bottom of the can, I feel sorry that it gets left behind. But it's only a piece of trash. Or is it?

    (I love bare feet, your's is lovely.)

  5. I wish we could get the oil out without incident, but I refuse to push for laws protecting our wilds from oil drilling just so other folk's natural areas get destroyed so we can buy their oil.

    good luck with the verbena purple.

  6. aloha noelle,

    happy mothers day to you, i can understand the feelings of a fragile eco system and seeing these beaches remain intact, i did a mothers day tribute on my sari sari blog



  7. sorry w2w, i put in the wrong name earlier, i was multi tasking on the phone and the internet...i couldn't see your profile so i'll just address it w2w :)

  8. Yes, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass were my favorite books years before. Your post (the title itself) brought back all those memories..

    Thank You

  9. Hugs... keep smiling.

    We all could learn more from you. Great writing.

  10. I'm not as eager to forgive BP. As far as being accountable for every bird or fish they kill-- accountable to whom? This is a minor inconvenience.

    Just MHO, but we could find alternative fuels and if it weren't for BP and the others, we might be looking harder. Their huge contributions to politicians guarantee we won't have an alternative anytime soon.

    I agree, developers will eventually destroy all of nature, but BP has a huge head start.

  11. Well said!! I have become so sensitive to it all I can't watch the news anymore. I just live under my rock, leave as little a footprint as I can on the environment in my own little ways, and do what makes me happy. It's a struggle. ~karen

  12. Curiouser and curiouser. But of a good heart.

  13. Julie, thanks, but the toes could use a little work; okay, a lot! Here is where you will find that shade of purple I was talking about, at least in nature:)

    Tina, you might want to get down here while the gettin' is still good! The local news crews have been out looking for tar balls but haven't found any yet.

    Michelle, your fragile health is what has made you appreciate and be so concerned about the environment. If not for that, we wouldn't have the benefit of your devotion and hard work to preserve what's happening to it. Obviously, I'm not glad for what you're going through, but I am grateful for what I've learned from you as well as for the great dialogue you allow with your meme.

    TC, here in the South we call it trash, not garbage. You know, you're right about the disparity in statistics regarding the gender of the sanitation engineer. If only the stuff didn't smell so bad! I guess I could put up with being called a garbage lady but definitely not a trash lady.

    Mr. Stratz, you have made the most excellent point of all: why do we insist on keeping our shores clean so that other countries must forfeit their own? Honestly, it's just another form of colonialism.

    Thank you, Noel, for the Mother's Day greetings! I am blessed beyond belief with my two children. I'll be over to check out your post very soon. W2W is just fine, by the way. Even hey you is okay.

    Tomz, I like to go back to those old favorites from childhood. They hold more secrets and surprises than we first realized.

    Thanks, Rosey! I never stop smiling, really. Moms don't give up on that, ever.

    I agree with you, Marnie. Maybe the politicians are the ones who need closer scrutiny.

    KaHolly, the older I get, the more meddlesome I become. I know I can't change the situation, but if I can get someone thinking about how everyone, not just Big Oil, is responsible for what happens to this planet, well, then I've done something right, maybe. The point is to get "through" the looking glass, or beyond it to examine one's true motives in life. Carroll was a genius in that respect.

    TB, thanks for hanging in there with the "curiouser" posts. Much appreciated!

  14. What a beautiful sunset, W2W! A great way to end this post on a positive note and remind us of what we long for--a pure environment.

    I have been out of the loop the past week while visiting youngest daughter and haven't even watched the news. But I agree with all that you have said. Society does want to have its cake and eat it, too. We all point fingers at BP and the other big oil companies, yet we want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. I have the same reaction when I hear people here talking about the need to preserve farmland, yet developers keep snatching up land and building more and more new subdivisions and people eagerly move to them. Somewhere there has to be a sense of balance.

  15. It's a mess: hopefully it gets plugged (this tophat works), what's been spilled can be mitigated, and we learn our lesson on how not to do it again. Our whole dependence on fossil fuel's just makes me shake my head: isn't there another way?

  16. Rose, I hope you had a great visit with your daughter. That frenzied development has probably done more to harm the environment over time than a score of oil spills. It's also fostered this current abysmal real estate market that's overloaded with foreclosures. This country has been on a fast track to nowhere for a while now. You probably wondered just like we did back in the 90s, how long before the bubble bursts and why no one in charge of overseeing the runaway economy was doing anything to keep its wheels from falling off? I, for one, would like it if everything would just slow down a little. Geez, I am getting older!

    Mr. S, SAM tells me that this country has enough natural gas reserves (no refining necessary) to keep this country running for a long time to come. It would take a little retooling of car engines and power plants and some tweaking of the supply network, but it would circumvent the need to constantly be searching for more of the crude stuff. Yeah, it's another "fossil" fuel, but it's a cleaner one. I guess it's not as lucrative a commodity as the Black Gold, though. Not sure why.

  17. A walk on the beach is more helpful they say (because of the loos sand)
    Lovely pics.

  18. That was such a wise post, and it really got me thinking.

    I made a "boycott BP" sign for my car, not unaware of the irony of displaying this on something that is oil dependent.

    I'm making it a personal cause to cut back on our electricity use around the house, even though we can't afford solar panels.

    The problem is that oil is such a money maker, while more environmentally friendly technologies are not.

    Honestly, I think it's going to take a crisis which hits people in the wallet (at the gas pump) for them to wake-up. I notice so many living as if nothing is going on down there. It really bothers me!

    But what I really wanted to say was that this is a well-written and beautiful post :)

  19. Thanks, Haddock! My legs and feet sure get a workout on the beach. If I could walk there every day I'd be in great shape.

    Thank you, Clementine. I'm glad you liked the post. It was a heartfelt one, and I hoped it would come across like that. You know, that crisis at the pump did happen before in the mid 70s. I remember the long lines at the gas stations, and people getting frustrated when there was no gas to be had because of the Arab Oil Embargo. Scary stuff! It even happened briefly here in NW Florida in the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons. People started hoarding gasoline, and stations were running out right before the hurricanes hit, and there was little or none to be had afterwards. It's easy to take things like plenty of gasoline for granted. Conservation was a big deal back in the 70s and early 80s, and most people seemed to be on board. I don't know why it ever ran aground.