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...


  1. Nice train of thoughts. You start off with iphone, explore poems and lead us to the noble thoughts of peacecoexistence.
    Your fascination with poetry makes me ask,"Did you once teach literature?"

  2. I wouldn't have thought jelly would cause some fuss at an airport but the screeners really take their jobs seriously now a days. A good thing too. Your trip looked to be most educational and weather perfect!

  3. Where once upon a time I loved to travel, I now dread the experience. Leave it to me to live more than a half a continent away from my only child!! Glad you survived the experience and enjoyed your visit to Maine, always one of my favorite places. ~karen

  4. I love the Rime of the Ancient Mariner too. Hey, isn’t that Giant Stairway on Bailey Island? I was near there today, taking my dog for a swim. How fun that we both blogged about Casco Bay this week.

  5. THL, no, I've never been paid to teach except as a substitute, but I guess my dreams lead in that direction. I would love to teach literature and/or creative writing at the college level someday. Who knows? Fifty isn't too old to start graduate school, is it? Thanks for asking, by the way.

    Tina, we kept hearing "Security Level Orange!" over the loudspeaker, and I guess the time of year might have had something to do with the state of high alert. I really do appreciate the work that the screeners do. It was my own fault for not putting the jar in the checked baggage, but it was a little irritating nonetheless. Flying isn't fun. Too much stress! We did have a great time once we arrived in Maine, and the weather was beautiful for almost our entire time there. I wish we could have brought some of the rain back to Florida that began the day we left and definitely some of that coolness!

    Karen, I'm the same way about traveling, at least by plane. Thank goodness I had a gift certificate for a massage waiting for me at home. I took advantage of it today and feel much better.

    Sarah, we were at Fort Williams Park near the Goddard House when I took the pic of SAM on the rocks. The rocks do resemble a stairway, though. They must all be part of the same formation in that area and underwent some kind of cataclysmic event at some point in their history. It is pretty cool that we blogged about the same area. You're lucky to be living nearby!

  6. I guess next time just try shipping the marmalade? It may be worth the cost of postage. Then you don't have to worry about their security personnel scrutinizing your goods.

  7. They have taken the fun out of flying haven’t they? And the prices are going to the moon as well. Soon, only the business person and the rich will be able to fly.

    I hate the "Hurry Up and Wait" aspect of life so not in any hurry to fly anywhere anytime soon. I was hoping that in time they would lay off things such as a jar of jelly but seems not. The last time I flew, I wore sandals so I would not have to take off my shoes. Guess what? Sandals must come off too! Gee, that was a few years back and I wonder if the shoes must still come off….

  8. Yeah, that about covers flying these days. A royal pain. We don't do it unless there is absolutely no way to get there otherwise.

    Thanks for the kind thoughts. They do mean a lot.

  9. Rosey, there wouldn't have been a problem if only I had put it in the checked bag. Just carelessness on my part, plain and simple. Still, it's ridiculous what people have to go through just to travel by plane. Someone told me that she watched an old lady in a wheelchair be "selected" for a pat-down while going through security, and she could barely manage to stand up. Something's wrong with that picture.

    Skeeter, you're so right. The airfare itself might seem somewhat reasonable, but then they start tacking on fees for checked bags and so on. I would have much rather driven to Maine, but we didn't have enough time to accomplish that. I don't like to hurry up and wait either. Going through security there and back made me feel quite anxious, rushed, and out of sorts. And yes, every shoe must be removed, or else!

    FFG, I think I'll call it a PITFA experience: pain in the flying a--. With those airplane seats getting more cramped all the time, it literally is a PITFA.

    And you're quite welcome!

  10. Good thing the security people stopped you--who knows what mayhem you might have been planning with that marmalade:) And yet they don't stop someone with explosives in their underwear...

    Lighthouses have always appealed to me, too. Looks like you had a wonderful trip!

    I don't see myself getting an iPhone anytime soon; somehow I find it annoying when I see people with their eyes glued to their phones all the time. Besides, I'd have to have my 10-year-old grandson show me how to use it:)

  11. I am so sorry your jelly was confiscated. These security methods are very trying.

    Loved the poem and the photos.

  12. I had an encounter with the Ancient Mariner earlier today. He was 85 years old and I'd never met him before, but he insisted on talking to me for a half hour. I felt very much like the Wedding Guest, only replace coffee with beer.

  13. Wow. walk2write,
    that was a very clever entertwining of poetry and prose! Thank you!
    Getting searched at the airport is a theme that often pops up - see GeraldGees funny drawing or my post on Gardeninginhighheels in June, 'For Your Eyes Only' - which the Berliner Gazette, who printed it, changed to 'Lingerie in Case of Emergency' - thinking: sex sells :-)

  14. Hello W2W and SAM!!! Looks like a great trip! Good weather. Rocks. Yeah. Your posts always make me question and I always learn a few new words...tonight they were:
    Gendarmes and Caldera.


  15. Rose, you would think grandmotherly types would catch a break, but they seem to be the most targeted by the screeners. Marmalade mayhem, indeed! It sounds like something right up Miss Marple's alley. As far as the iPhone goes, like you, I think it's too involved. There are only so many bells and whistles I'm willing to ring and toot.

    Thanks, Ann. At least it wasn't an expensive item. The only thing hurt was my dignity so no great loss--not the first time that's been trampled, and it won't be the last, I'm sure.

    Mr. S, how lucky you were! I could sit and listen to an oldster for hours. Was it your treat--the beer--or his?

    Britta, thanks! You're another lucky one, getting your blog post picked up by a major publication. That trend hasn't caught on here as far as I know. Most of the media people in the U.S. look down their noses at blogging, unless, of course, the blogger happens to be a bonafide journalist. Sex does a brisk business here too. Billboards seem to be the advertisers' favorite display mode. Americans are visual people, and reading takes a back seat when an image can capture ever so much more attention than words.

    Julie, you need to go to Maine if you've never been there. Next time I hope we can drive so some rocks can travel home with us. I'm always happy to share some good words. You're welcome!

  16. Hello, I loved your comment and thank you so very much. I know too well about being confiscated at airport security. They took my bottle of Listerine, but I sweet talked the girl into letting me keep my nail polish. How I ever got away with that I will never know. But I do remember pleading with her lol. I don't even wear nail polish at this point in my life. But that's just not right about your marmalade. Some people just take things WAY too far. Silly people.
    I love the gorgeous red tanker ship. A work of art matey*
    Love the rocks and your hubby on it. Something very rustic about walking around on boulders such as those.
    Love the "I want to get away" video. Would you believe my nephew (in law) out in California can actually do moves like that? I will try to find a link to what he does. It is amazing.
    Glad you had a wonderful trip and glad you are back safe and sound. We finally got some much needed rain and it's actually cooling down a bit! Wonderful!

  17. Nice to read about ur interesting travel writing. When you mentioned in the last post about travelling to some other place, I never thought that you had been enjoying such a wonderful trip.. I think its the time to think about the flowers and fruits in ur orchard. What could have been happened to them. Lets hope that none has been attacked by some pests or insects..But if u will go there surely can find a new creature..waiting for ur next posts soon.

  18. I have to "ditto" THL above. Who knew that an iPhone could lead to such deep thoughts? Here I thought it was just a thing to use to post to Twitter and Facebook.

    BTW: my word verification is "Ship"

  19. You were in Maine at my favorite time of year there. We used to go to Bass Harbor for a week at this time of year to hike, and eat lobster and sweet corn. Wish it was closer to FL!

  20. Sorry, all! It's been a while since I've been here.

    Sandy, thanks so much! You always write such thoughtful comments. I think you and I are the only ones who admire that lovely red tanker. I'm guessing your nephew is in his teens or early 20s at the most. That kind of sport couldn't be popular (possible) for anyone over the age of 30. We'll just enjoy it vicariously.

    Okay, Tomz, I get the hint: stop the travelogue and get on with the show. It's finally cool enough for me to get interested in the garden and its critters again. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement!

    MBT, I don't have an iPhone, but I've seen them in action. They are amazing. I wonder if the old poets would have found them useful? Now that's a great WV! It's uncanny how words will pop up that go along with someone's post. I've had it happen to me before. Spooky!

    Elizabeth, we missed the great fall color by a couple of weeks, but I'm not complaining. The places we visited weren't as crowded, and we got some hiking and lobster eating done just the same. The best part of the visit was reconnecting with family and meeting some new members. I'm with you in wishing Maine was a lot closer to Florida. One of these days I would love to visit Bar Harbor. We didn't get to it on this trip.

  21. Sorry I'm late on the comment page as usual and it's pretty much all been said. Still your mix of prose and poety always inspires to look at this in new yet familiar ways. Thanks. :)

  22. Where's the traveler's app? Ginger (my iPhone) needs a vacation!

  23. The lighthouse always had an old world charm of its own.