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, January 7, 2011

What to Do When the Love of Most Will Grow Cold? Garden!

Southern Yellowjacket, Vespula squamosa, on Camellia sasanqua "Yuletide," December 31, 2010, Santa Rosa County, Florida
 On the last day of 2010, we took stock of the garden at home. The extreme cold had left us for a day or two--at least the kind you can feel on your skin and in your bones--so it was a nice day to be outside. Sunshine kept us company in the morning as we walked around the yard, SAM and I, picking up on some cues from the social insects. Those were some good vibes I felt coming my way from the yellow jacket on my Camellia sasanqua "Yuletide," a shrub I planted almost two years ago, shortly after SAM lost his job in Illinois.  

Honeybee on Camellia sasanqua "Yuletide," Santa Rosa County, Florida, December 31, 2010

At the time, I thought I was being foolish, adding plants to a home we might have to sell or possibly lose to the bank. SAM probably thought so too, but he didn't discourage me. He knew that I was cultivating hope, something for the future. The honeybees evidently think the future is important too. They're busy even at this time of year in Northwest Florida. You would think they'd stay cozy in their hive, keeping each other warm, and letting the world go to hell in a hand basket. No, some of them are out trying to find fresh supplies of nectar and pollen so the rest of the hive can survive the winter. They just don't know any better, I guess. Unemployment is never an issue for them or the rest of their family. They're insulated from that kind of disaster at least, and they stick together for the ones that do strike. The honey helps with the sticking together, of course, but it's really that prime directive planted in their little brains that keeps them going: Keep the hive alive, whatever the cost!  

 It might not look like much now, this little plant of mine. It's only a bit more than a meter high, but it's grown a lot in two years. I got it for a bargain price, one of those after Christmas specials you find at the big box stores. Who in the world would want "Yuletide" after Christmas? It's anticlimactic, to say the least.
Anticlimax rears its ugly head even though nature tries its best to cover the mess. Before SAM and I took stock of things in and out of the garden last Friday morning, we took a walk down the street and passed that old house I showed you in late 2009 when the wind was scheduled to break. It's still falling down. What a disappointment that must be to the people directly across the street who have recently listed their home for sale. Too bad for them that the late-season tropical storm didn't go far enough and bring the whole thing crashing down. It appears as if its last inhabitants' fortune endured death by a thousand cuts, a slow decline that, unfortunately, left a telltale, if bloodless, sign of things to come for homeowners all over the United States.
Less than a mile down the road from the house with no more facade, yet another new subdivision has been carved out of Northwest Florida farmland and forest. A few houses have been built, and there are plenty of empty lots waiting for more. So far as we could tell, no one has moved into the neighborhood. I imagine the builder and his crews are getting a little anxious. This development, by the way, began to take shape after the economy and real estate market started to collapse a couple of years ago. Is this evidence of hopefulness or just flying in the face of common sense? Time will tell. Let's hope it's a kind tale for the sake of those people who are waiting on things to get better.
After great pain, a formal feeling comes--
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs--
The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,
And Yesterday, or Centuries before?

The Feet, mechanical, go round--
Of Ground, or Air or Ought--
A Wooden way
Regardless grown,
A Quartz contentment, like a stone--

This is the Hour of Lead--
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow--
First--Chill--then Stupor--then the letting go--

(Emily Dickinson, c. 1862)

It seems that Miss Emily had considered that famous biblical prophecy a time or two: "Because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of most will grow cold..." The inevitability of life's struggles, the weight of the world's troubles, not to mention personal trials--all of it seems too much to bear, alone at least. That must be how love grows cold, in individual souls, one at a time, cultivated over time, nurtured by anger or fear and then eventually paralyzed into inaction.

It's an interesting thing, this idea of growing cold. C. S. Lewis in his story of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe used eternal Winter as a trope to describe the expansion of coldheartedness, something that grows as faith contracts.
Late in the morning on the last day of the year before the rains began that would dampen some revelers' spirits, SAM and I got busy increasing our stock of blueberry bushes. It was as simple as digging up some of the roots that have been steadily multiplying themselves since we first planted those suckers from the original blueberry plants almost two years ago. It looks like our garden will need to be even more fruitful in the near future.
There may be more mouths to feed from this garden. Let's hope it and we are up to the task. The soil, at least, is getting better all the time. Someone we know who raises chickens has promised me something to make it even richer. Hey, we take what we can get!


  1. Dear Walk2write,
    I admire your and anybodys courage to say - and act accordingly - when things get difficult: "In spite of that!" To make your garden more beautiful and fruitful is a sign of hope and of fighting spirit - I hope so much that the job world changes again! It is difficult here too: nowadays a lot of people have more (little) than one job, seldom that anybody remains in a job all his life, and I am really alarmed that young people often are not able to secure something for the times they get older. We still have a lot of support here for those without jobs, but that is 'only' the economical side (which is the most important); the other one is that people often define their worth through their jobs (though I think that changes a bit).
    I wish you and your husband the best luck with all my heart! (And put Emily away for a while - although I love her dearly, that is a very depressing, though wonderful poem)

  2. A writer who loves gardening, buys unnecessary plants and tends them tenderly, quotes Emily Dickinson and has a bee in a camellia in Dec/Jan, I've just got to become your follower.

    Go on, cheer me up, do the same for me, click on my follower button, Please?

    You know I need cheering up, all my plants are dead or dormant, there are no bees, only hungry birds who are eating me out of house and home and a dog who now tells me his hind legs are getting arthritic.

    And it's a long time before spring arrives.

    Sad life or what!

  3. I'm so envious (that's not really the word I want, but I'll use it anyway) of you warm winter folks! It's 20 degrees F (-6 C) here right now and will be getting colder over the weekend. There's no plant life outside to speak of (dormancy don't count), but I'm given respite by the few green houseplants I keep. One is a crepe myrtle I keep in a pot that I've had for 2 years. I set it out on the back porch during summer hoping it'll try to flower, but it don't.

    Emily Dickinson said "Nature is a haunted house - but art - is a house that tries to be haunted." And the garden in winter is indeed a haunted house!

    One last word usage thing: You said "So far as we could tell..." I'm wondering if "As far as we could tell" would work?

  4. To keep it simple, I think anyone who plants anything in the ground must believe in tomorrow. You certainly showcase that dictum. As to Emily, perhaps, the coldness of unrequited love has it own messages.

  5. Britta, thank you. It's tough all over, isn't it? But you know what they say about when the going gets tough... My husband and I are doing just fine. We're just concerned about other family members. But we will stick together as always. I love Miss Emily, dark or not. She's a regular fixture here.

    Friko, I would be honored to follow you. And thanks for doing the same. I know what you mean about hungry birds. They're getting more and more demanding at the feeder. Spring will be there for you soon. You will be revelling in your lovely flowers come summer whilst I'm dripping with sweat and dreading going outdoors. Then we'll see who's sad!

    TC, I can always count on you to keep me honest. So far as I can tell, I'm from the South now, and I can say things any way I want. If that "don't" help your crepe myrtle to bloom, then I'll eat my grits!

    TB, it wasn't just UL that left poor Miss Emily out in the cold. She had a problem with religious types, but maybe that was just another form of unrequited love.

  6. You sure do stir up some interesting comments!!! LOLOL! I like some of your responses too!

    As always, it is a lot of fun reading your posts. You know I have increased my garden somewhat now that I have my son's family living here...added carrots and now about to put in some potatoes! My eggplants are doing of my bushes has 4 on it right now! You can add so much more to your garden, and really enjoy well as having a few more bodies takes getting used to, but in time, you wonder how you got along without them all!!! God bless you and best wishes for 2011 !!!
    xoxo- Julie

  7. I've always thought that someone who plants a garden is the perfect example of hope. No matter what life or nature throws at us, we keep planting those little babies with visions of how beautiful they will be one day. Gardening has become my way of working out problems and finding peace, too. I'd rather be out there watching the bees than watching CNN or Fox News and getting depressed:)

    This month marks the one-year "anniversary" of my oldest son getting laid off from his job. For his sake and others like him, I hope the economy turns around. It's pretty sad when the only jobs he can find pay less than unemployment benefits.

    Someone once said, "You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt"--and it's cheaper than a psychiatrist!

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  9. Your red "Yuletide" blooms are really beautiful! My sasanquas, a different type, are now in bloom too.
    We had an economic bubble, from 1986 to 1991, in which real estate and stock prices greatly inflated. And the bubble's collapse, which occurred gradually rather than catastrophically, lasted for more than a decade. Japan is stuck in recession still now and students have a hard time finding a job. As a result of the hard times, we feel that something has definitely changed; changing values.
    And thanks for Emily Dickinson's poem!! I love her poems!!

  10. Julie, you know it's a blessing to have the space to plant those veggies when you've got more mouths to feed. I daresay there will be more community gardens popping up than ever before in the next few years.

    Rose, you are so right! Gardening is some of the best therapy available, and if someone is out of work it lends a sense of purpose and usefulness. I hope your son finds a good job soon.

    Sapphire, I've heard about Japan's ongoing economic troubles, and it seems like people (policymakers and power brokers) in the U.S. would have been more attentive to what has been going on in the rest of the world. Unfortunately, the ones who did notice were not vocal enough or were ignored when they tried to warn people. It's not popular to put the brakes on when everyone else wants to keep pushing forward without considering the cost. Florida is getting a wake-up call with its new governor. I wonder how it's going to respond and how he will fare as the brakeman.

  11. I am in agreement with Rose. Gardening truly is my therapy. My husband will attest to that. I have found so much solace in that simple act of planting seeds yet learned many lessons as well when the mice eat those seeds!

    I am glad you are getting manure for your garden. That is the best present anyone could ever give, in my opinion. Ha.

    I love that thought by C.S Lewis... he was very wise!


  12. nothing like a new subdivision to make one take notice to where trees once stood. The Lion came up last night at a gathering of friends at my church

  13. Rosey, I wonder why the medical profession doesn't take gardening more seriously as a therapeutic option? A study should be done, and it will be paid for in veggies! Mr. Lewis is more famous for his kiddie lit, but he's written some fabulous nonfiction too. Mere Christianity and The Abolition of Man are two of my favorites.

    Mr. S, most of that new neighborhood was formerly farmland, but there were some massive oaks along the fringes of the property that came down. Most of them were close to where those silly "Location, location, location" signs are standing. And there were probably many more of them before the land was used for farming. It's just senseless to keep clearing land and building more houses when the ones already standing aren't selling.

  14. I admire the hope you have. The economic slump seems to be lifting in Canada, so they tell us. Here's to wishing you a respite from the storms of life. Hoping your hope springs eternal.

    Thanks for the visit today on my blog.

  15. Hello, Shirley! Thanks for visiting here and following.

    I've heard that Canada's economy is doing better than here in the States. It may be that your country uses its resources more wisely than the U.S. does. I wish our leaders could learn from what works, what doesn't, and why. Thanks for your good wishes.