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.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ancient Mariner App: iTravel to the Lighthouse State and Back (to Florida)

If I had an iPhone and the smarts to develop an app for it, I would probably create one for travelers. It would help them remember certain aspects of their journey by looking through a special prism--S. T. Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

It is an ancient Mariner
And he stoppeth one of three.
--"By thy long gray beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp'st thou me?"...

You know that all-familiar-by-now examination of your luggage at the airport? Where if you don't consider that a jar of key lime marmalade destined for someone up north doesn't belong in your carry-on bag--"It's a gel, ma'am, more than 3 ounces, and it's obviously not in your quart-size Ziploc"--you could be subjected to a search and seizure of supposed contraband and intense scrutiny by security screeners. Those glittering eyes were suddenly upon this miscreant wife of SAM, mother of two, and grandmother of one.

"What's your destination and the purpose of your trip? Is it for business or pleasure? How long will you be staying there?" I wish I could have answered That's for me to know and for you to find out, but then I would have left my two fellow travelers in a pickle and never have gotten off the ground.

Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to behave myself, provide answers punctuated with Sir!, and apologize for being so foolish as to think a sealed jar of store-bought marmalade wouldn't be confiscated. Groveling goes a long way with Gulf Coast gendarmes.

...He holds him [her] with his glittering eye--
The Wedding Guest stood still,
And listens like a three years' child:
The Mariner hath his will...

A few days after the security screener "hath(d) his will," we managed to visit spectacular places some of us had never seen before. Secret Aging Man was in his element, as you can imagine. Rocks! I think he was considering buying an extra bag at one point so he could bring home a few. It's not every day he gets to walk over such gneiss stuff. Volcanoes in Maine? Certainly. Time might erode the caldera, but the fragments get left behind to tell the story. Violent explosion and eruption. Catastrophic change that causes even rocks to cry out with the strain of upheaval. The evidence is everywhere if you know what to look for.

...The Wedding Guest sat on a stone:
[S]He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner...

Here it was September 11. A tanker ship was cruising into harbor. Bringing oil? The harbor pilot kept a close eye on the proceedings. It was a busy morning for him (or her).

Tanked cruise ship passengers had to be harbored too. I wonder if they had to give up any marmalade when they left Casco Bay at the end of the day?

"The ship was cheered, the harbor cleared,
Merrily did we drop
Below the kirk," below the hill,
Below the lighthouse top..."

After watching the steady, carefully orchestrated influx of ships, I also wondered what it takes to steer those behemoths safely into port. I found my answer at the lighthouse museum. Who knew that a "kirk" would still be considered a place to find one's bearings in the 21st century? Coleridge, apparently.

H. W. Longfellow was no slouch either. He had this lighthouse fascination, religious/fraternity connection, and profit potential figured out and ready for market faster than a volcano could create a coastline. Who could resist or forget lines like: The lighthouse lifts its massive masonry/ A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day?

I recently discovered that the iPhone of all things has been bringing people closer to experiencing God's guidance and protection than even a lighthouse could. Is that possible? Some people use it metaphorically and even literally as a means of communicating with the Almighty. Would Steve Jobs approve? Obviously, he believes that "the dots connect down the road." You might not see it now, but the path is already marked, the course charted. Could it really be that simple? Coleridge and Longfellow seemed to think so. Who am I to disagree?

...Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
To thee, thou Wedding Guest!
He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.

He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things, both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

'I Want to Get Away!'

...With the great gale we journey
That breathes from gardens thinned,
Borne in the drift of blossoms
Whose petals throng the wind;

Buoyed on the heaven-heard whisper
Of dancing leaflets whirled
From all the woods that autumn
Bereaves in all the world.

And midst the fluttering legion
Of all that ever died
I follow, and before us
Goes the delightful guide,

With lips that brim with laughter
But never once respond,
And feet that fly on feathers,
And serpent-circled wand.

--from A. E. Housman's "The Merry Guide," A Shropshire Lad, XLII, 1896--