per·i·pa·tet·ic
ˌperēpəˈtedik/
adjective
  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.
    Aristotelian.
noun
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Surprise! Florida's Missing Waterfalls and Gifts from Friends Above (Up North)

Florida isn't famous for rock formations or sheets of water cascading over precipitous cliffs into chasms below. And "drought" is not a term most people associate with a state known for its tropical vegetation and associated rainfall. Surprise! Northwest Florida has both topographic and climatic anomalies or exceptions to the rule, and once in a while the drought condition upstages the one that supports a waterfall. Secret Aging Man and I found this to be the case recently at Falling Waters State Park. We were on our way back to Tallahassee last weekend after showing the house to yet another couple who remarked that they liked our home but were determined and eager to buy one of the many "distressed" properties up for grabs. They had already put in a bid on a house much larger than ours with similar features for only 105,000 dollars. Oh, how things have changed since we moved here almost seven years ago. You would have been laughed out of town for an offer like that back then. And that was pre-Hurricane Ivan, before speculating developers got their hands on the land and its resources--including the water. It's unlimited, right? Plenty to go around and then some. Build and build some more. Life in Florida is easy and so is the credit to finance it. Or was, I should say.
The Waterfall
(Henry Vaughan, 1655)

With what deep murmurs through time's silent stealth
Doth thy transparent, cool, and watery wealth
Here flowing fall,
And chide, and call,
As if his liquid, loose retinue stayed
Lingering, and were of this steep place afraid,

The common pass
Where, clear as glass,
All must descend--
Not to an end,
But quickened by this deep and rocky grave,
Rise to a longer course more bright and brave...
Falling Waters State Park wasn't always the kind of place to look for just "watery wealth." Boardwalk trails and clean restrooms didn't beckon curious visitors in years past. Another kind of wealth drew prospectors' interest here when they heard "legends of a rock-enclosed substance that would burn." Click on the pic above to read the details.
Dear stream! dear bank, where often I
Have sat and pleased my pensive eye,
Why, since each drop of thy quick store
Runs thither whence it flowed before,
Should poor souls fear a shade or night,
Who came, sure, from a sea of light?
Or since those drops are all sent back
So sure to thee, that none doth lack,
Why should frail flesh doubt any more
That what God takes He'll not restore?
We might not have autumn in all of its glory here in Florida like most of the country does at this time of year, but we do find pockets of peace to cherish what we do have. Clear skies and cooler temperatures draw us into the woods--healing places where the dry tears and tatters fall away and new growth takes place another day. The waterfall will return in the springtime. I hope.
O useful element and clear!
My sacred wash and cleanser here,
My first consignor unto those
Fountains of life where the Lamb goes!
What sublime truths and wholesome themes
Lodge in thy mystical deep streams!
Such as dull man can never find
Unless that Spirit lead his mind
Which first upon thy face did move,
And hatched all with His quickening love.
As this loud brook's incessant fall
In streaming rings restagnates all,
Which reach by course the bank, and then
Are no more seen, just so pass men.
O my invisible estate,
My glorious liberty, still late!
Thou art the channel my soul seeks,
Not this with cataracts and creeks.
I gave a hint in the title of the post that a gift had arrived. It wasn't really a surprise. I was expecting it to come any day. The postal service certainly can't use any excuses about sleet, snow, or rain delaying the package, and it wasn't the first attempt that Karen of KaHolly and Down in the Hollow fame had made to send me some of her beautiful handmade greeting cards. A set of Eagle cards is still floating about somewhere in North America, or maybe it's landed somewhere it doesn't belong. I just finished filling out a survey for USPS. It didn't pile on any praises for quality of service or timeliness. I sometimes wonder if the Pony Express wouldn't be more efficient? Anyway, thanks, Karen, for your lovely gifts and, most of all, patience. We could all do with a lot more of that virtue/spiritual fruit in this hectic world we share.
On a different note, another blogger friend recently said on his blog that he thinks blogging and other forms of social networking verge on narcissism. That kind of attitude makes me sad for two reasons. First of all, serious psychological conditions have become fodder for psychobabblers who chew on popular literature/trends and then regurgitate the stuff to make themselves look good and often end up making other people feel bad. Secondly, if you think about it, Narcissus--the fellow in Greek mythology who fell in love with his own reflection and the namesake for a certain modern psychopathy--should never have become so despised and blamed for his lover Echo's despair. Echo, after all, had brought trouble on herself for gossiping, talking too much, and annoying the gods. She was condemned to always have the last word. That doesn't seem like such an awful punishment, unless you consider that she could only repeat what someone else had just spoken and was not allowed to ever give voice to an original thought again. It's no wonder Narcissus plopped himself down on the riverbank and became enchanted with his reflection. Who likes being taunted by having his words flung back at him--a verbal slap in the face? Still, though, if he had really been so pathologically self-absorbed, he would have been gratified hearing his own words replayed. He wanted no part of Echo with her endless repetition. It's a shame that the nymph and son of a nymph couldn't sit down and discuss things sanely over a cup of tea. And not fret about who gets to have the last word on a subject or who's right or wrong--a wonderful exception to the rule in our modern society and quite in line with that other, old-fashioned, unpopular, outdated one. You know--that Golden Rule.

15 comments:

  1. You are most welcome, Ingrid. I am just sorry the original parcel containing the eagle cards never arrived. Maybe someday, out of the blue, they will be delivered! Enjoyed the photos prose in today's post, esp. the pic looking up at the treetops. If the blogger that made that statement really believes as he writes, perhaps he should just not blog! If you don't like it, don't do it. Right? Hope you had a great long weekend. Be patient. Your house will sell. ~karen

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  2. Another rich and varied post, W2W--thank you. Among all the interesting topics you raised, I certainly resonate with your observation that we need to treasure and care about our water resources in FL.

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  3. The panhandle and peninsula, especially the southern tip, are apples and oranges. I'd love to visit that part of the state to see real live flowing waterfalls. I've never been. I did get a chance to see the Devil's Millhopper near Gainesville. It's a sinkhole that water cascades down into from twelve trickles then disappears in the ground. BTW: If you want to see the last couple months of rainfall for the NWFWMD I just posted it. :^)

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  4. We have karst topography here too! Sinkholes galore in Clarksville. Fortunately I am on a ridge so secure footings here:)

    One of my garden club friends thinks blogging is narcissistic. I find that odd since she has a professional website but is not into self promoting? Yet at every function out comes the info she owns a greenhouse and can do this and that for customers. It's is self promotion at its best and worst. Worst because she could do so much better with a blog versus a newsletter and best because she is self promoting herself at every turn. Well deserved that it is I find it a bit difficult to think I am narcissistic because I blog. That's okay because though because after all it is OUR blog-the individual that is-and if it is all about us then so be it. Then again, it sure seems there are an awful lot of narcissists in this age of technological networking so perhaps it is the oddball who does not blog or talk on social networks that is narcissistic? Maybe more like ignorant or living a few decades behind the rest of us? Perhaps thinking he is better than all the bloggers because he takes the high road and does not talk about himself on the web? I don't know but hey, to each their own. Just my two cents and I have a lot of them ole things (pennies) laying around.

    I take it no luck on the house then? You hang in there. There is a silver lining someplace surely.

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  5. Oh, forgot to say-very nice cards-how sweet!

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  6. Heard of the sinkhole and the karst topography. Thanks for more insight into it. Nice gift you got there!

    And if someone thought social networking is on the verge of narcissism, too bad for him. The very concept of blogging or social networking is about looking beyond yourself and finding out other perspectives and opinions, don't you think!

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  7. Some very good points made in this post. I enjoyed the poetry, writing.

    That sinkhole is scary. I just feel lightheaded being near large holes in the ground. I was out hiking yesterday and came across a huge mine that went WAY down and it scared me just being near it. Yikes!

    I like those cards you got. Lucky you! They are very artistic.

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  8. I'm a therapist, and let me be first to say that social media that this is just another means to communicate. Don't you talk about yourself similarly on the phone or by email?

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  9. A great post. That waterfall is cool, but that sinkhole is awesome. It is so creepy to imagine all the things that could be down there, or that could emerge.

    I see what the other blogger and you are both saying about social media, the funny thing is that before blogging got mainstream cred, people said the same thing about blogging. Who would waste their time blogging and who would care to read it?

    *cough*

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  10. I love waterfalls, too; there's something so peaceful about them, even if the water is rushing off to some unseen destination. As you know, we don't have any of these in central Illinois:)

    I'm so glad we sold our old house a couple of years ago--the market had just collapsed, and it took us two years to sell. Nobody was much interested in an old but well-built house surrounded by lovely shade trees when they could have a new one slapped together on a bare spot of land for just a little more:)

    Interesting take on the Narcissus myth; I hadn't thought of it that way. I used to think blogging was some form of narcissism, too...until I started blogging myself. Now I realize it's just another form of social networking, and I've met so many wonderful people here--some in person--that it has added so much more to my life. I've shared their trials and problems, too, which I think is anything but narcissism. And I've learned a lot about gardening:)

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  11. Karen, even if those eagle cards never make it here, there is some comfort in knowing that someone, somewhere may be enjoying them. Who knows? Maybe they were destined to be delivered somewhere to lift someone up, so to speak. As for the blogger who wrote about narcissism, I don't think he really believes what he said, just trying to make an ironic point which failed to hit any mark. Or maybe it did, because it irritated me. I still love him as a friend and blogging brother, though.

    Thanks, Mary. The dry spell has been a good test for my garden if nothing else. Since I haven't been around to keep it watered regularly, the things that are surviving and thriving are getting noted and are proving that they are keepers.

    Mr. S, you might want to wait until spring to visit the panhandle if you want to see the waterfall in all of its glory. That one near Gainesville certainly sounds interesting. Thanks for the tip. We did get a tiny shower yesterday at our house near Pensacola, just enough to settle some of the dust and whet my appetite for more.

    Tina, you're funny! That gardening friend with the greenhouse probably doesn't want to admit it, but she's afraid of the work and time investment involved with blogging. She thinks she's getting a great ROI with her newsletter, and maybe she is if the bottom line is all she cares about. I don't know if the ones who don't like the social media are oddballs or ignorant. Maybe just reserved or very private about their lives. I'm still surprised that I ventured into blogging since I'm a shy person by nature. It's been good for me in many ways, helping me to break out of my solitary shell and be more outgoing in the "real world." And I have learned so much about things, places, and people I had never really thought about before. As for the house, it might not sell for a while, but maybe it's for the best. We'll see.

    RGB, you have improved upon and developed my point about the bottom line attitude. A real blogger who takes the time and makes the effort to connect with other bloggers and learn about other perspectives and cultures defies being labeled as narcissistic. I'm glad I was able to shed some light on karst for you.

    Thanks, Rosey. I'm like you with feeling uneasy around those sinkholes. I didn't stay too long on that viewing platform overlooking the largest one, and I certainly didn't want to lose my grip on the railing!

    TFB, yep, communication is where it's at. Nearly all of the arguments I get into with SAM are due to lack of communication or misunderstanding. Both of us are nontalkative types, and you would be amazed at how much he has learned about me by reading the blog. It's a complicated thing, life, and if blogging makes it easier to understand, how can that be a bad thing?

    MBT, the missing waterfall is pretty cool. The lady at the park's fee station warned us about it, and she would probably be surprised to know how much I enjoyed it. It was the highlight of my weekend. Weird, huh? Who would pay to see a waterfall that isn't there? Ya'll got it for free. Isn't blogging great? Oh, I'm glad to know that it was you who put the little message on your video about collecting morning glory seeds. When you were puzzled about what I said, I wondered if someone had hacked into your YouTube account and played a trick on you.

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  12. amazing journey from real estate to waterfalls to Narcissus and Echo, and all so seamless.

    A bloody good read, if I might say so.

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  13. Dear Walk2write,
    as I wrote in my answer to your comment I looked up informations about Talahassee and found you have a very beautiful town to live in! And your writing about waterfalls, with quoting poetry, is very delightful!
    As to narcissm: I think that bloggers are creative - and they look at the things that are surrounding them, not only into a mirror as dear narciss in his dear little self, silently with great admiration of himself! What you told us about the nymph echo was new to me - and I laughed, because a few communication psychologist will tell you you should repeat every sentence of your neighbour, to make sure you understood them. My husband wouldn't like such a parrot - or echo! ;-)

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  14. I had no idea that Florida could have droughts. I hope you get your house! I love the Vaughan poem and your photos go well with the words. Brilliant comeback on blogging and Narcissus!

    Thanks so much for your kind words on Stella too.

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  15. Rose, so you know the agony of waiting and waiting for the house to sell. This is the toughest market we have ever been in, with the late 80s coming in as a close second. At that time we were trying to sell a house in southern Illinois just after the oil business crashed and the coal industry was caving. We had to move for work elsewhere then too. Life is a merry-go-round sometimes. At least with blogging you realize you're not alone, and there might be someone out there with the perspective you need to encourage you, or you can be the agent of encouragement. Thanks for affirming the truth about blogging.

    Thanks, IG. I'm glad it was engaging and seamless for you. It's a shame I'm such a dolt when it comes to sewing. I'm like a deer in the headlights when it comes to following a pattern or figuring out how to get the darn machine running properly. Patience is out the window then, along with some yelling.

    Thanks, Britta. You're right about Tallahassee. It is a beautiful town, but I like the surrounding countryside even better. Now that it's autumn and cooler weather, the woods are inviting us to visit. I vaguely remember hearing or reading somewhere what you said about psychologists' advice to repeat someone's words and prove that you're listening. I could see where that would be just as or more irritating than someone not listening to you or not letting you get a word in edgewise because they're so busy talking about themselves. Conversation really is an art and a delicate balancing act. I didn't realize there are psychologists who specialize in communication. How interesting! Thanks for letting me know.

    Sarah, thank you, and I'm glad if I helped. That last photo of Stella was breathtaking and so meaningful. I'll never forget it.

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