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, August 23, 2011

Upgrade Now--Or Else, Yahoos!

For a few weeks now, whenever I've tried to check my e-mail, this message has popped up. Easier, faster, newest version. It's got to be better than the old classic, right? Wrong.

Take a look at what showed up on my screen today. Note the spelling error. "Newset?" Trust a Yahoo with my precious mail? Like Gulliver, I will--not! I'd rather believe that there really are Houyhnhnms.

...I gave the captain, Pedro de Mendez, a very short relation of my voyage, of the conspiracy against me by my own men, of the country where they set me on shore, and of my five years' residence there--all of which he looked upon as if it were a dream or a vision; whereat I took great offense, for I had quite forgot the faculty of lying, so peculiar to Yahoos, in all countries where they reside, and, consequently, the disposition of suspecting truth in others of their own species...

(from Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift, 1726)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What Drives You?

Daughter knows this song by the group Incubus quite well. I keep bugging her to play it for me when she picks up the guitar, which isn't often enough in my opinion. We usually sing together, but we've never tried the whistling bit shown on this video. Her grandpa would have loved that part. Maybe when she gets home. This weekend she is off visiting friends and family from where we used to live near Pensacola. Her 29th birthday is next week, and I remember the moment that made it all possible, Daughter-Mine. It's what drives me.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Luna Moth--'Dow's Flat' Relief

Remains of Luna Moth, Actias luna, Lake Tallavana area
Do you ever have one of those mornings? A 'Dow's Flat' kind of morning? See below. You wake up, a miracle in itself. The sun is shining brightly again. A nice breeze is picking up, and the prospects for a long walk are looking mighty fine. Then the stuff hits the fan or at least the floor. My stuff this morning was a glass jar of mayonnaise that slipped from my hand and shattered into a million pieces on the kitchen tile. Walk delayed. Drat! Now it's going to be hot. The bugs will be bugging me. I'll be dripping sweat.

After covering myself with choice epithets from head to toe for being so clumsy and then cleaning up the million pieces of glass and mayo mess, I took that walk anyway. Sweat be damned!

The loop trail (road) is about 2.5 miles long and seemed punishing enough. I didn't expect to be rewarded. But there it was when I looked down at the road. The remains of a luna moth. And then I got to show it to the man who picks up the recyclables and hauls them off in his truck. And then the lady who was going the opposite direction from me stopped and stared at it. I'd passed her earlier on another part of the loop, and we greeted each other briefly. Now we were conversing, and she was smiling. Me too! I was, after all, carrying around a dead moth and showing it off like it was a marvelous thing. It was. "Dow's Flat" relief.

Dow's Flat

Dow's Flat. That's its name.
And I reckon that you
Are a stranger? The same?
Well, I thought it was true,--
For thar isn't a man on the river as can't spot the place at
First view.

It was called after Dow,--
Which the same was an ass,--
And as to the how
Thet the thing kem to pass,--
Just tie up your hoss to that buckeye, and sit ye down here
in the grass:

You see this yer Dow
Hed the worst kind of luck;
He slipped up somehow
On each thing thet he struck.
Why, ef he'd a straddled that fence-rail the derned thing 'ed
Get up and buck.

He mined on the bar
Till he couldn't pay rates;
He was smashed by a car
When he tunnelled with Bates;
And right on the top of his trouble kem his wife and five
Kids from the States.

It was rough,--mighty rough;
But the boys they stood by,
And they brought him the stuff
For a house, on the sly;
And the old woman,--well, she did washing, and took on
When no one was nigh.

But this yer luck of Dow's
Was so powerful mean
That the spring near his house
Dried right up on the green;
And he sunk forty feet down for water, but nary a drop to
Be seen.

Then the bar petered out,
And the boys wouldn't stay;
And the chills got about,
And his wife fell away;
But Dow, in his well, kept a peggin' in his usual ridikilous

One day,--it was June,--
And a year ago, jest,--
This Dow kem at noon
To his work like the rest,
With a shovel and pick on his shoulder, and a derringer
Hid in his breast.

He goes to the well,
And he stands on the brink,
And stops for a spell
Jest to listen and think;
For the sun in his eyes, (jest like this, sir!) you see, kinder
Made the cuss blink.

His two ragged gals
In the gulch were at play,
And a gownd that was Sal's
Kinder flapped on a bay;
Not much for a man to be leavin', but his all,--as I've
Heer'd the folks say.

And--That's a peart hoss
Thet you've got,--ain't it now?
What might be her cost?
Eh? Oh!--Well, then, Dow--
Let's see,--well, that forty-foot grave wasn't his sir, that
Day anyhow.

For a blow of his pick
Sorter caved in the side,
And he looked and turned sick,
Then he trembled and cried.
For you see, the dern cuss had struck--"Water?"--
Beg your parding, young man, there you lied!

It was gold,--in the quartz,
And it ran all alike;
And I reckon five oughts
Was the worth of that strike;
And that house with the coopillow's his'n,--which the same
Isn't bad for a Pike.

Thet's why it's Dow's Flat;
And the thing of it is
That he kinder got that
Through sheer contrariness;
For 'twas water the derned cuss was seekin', and his luck
Made him certain to miss.

Thet's so. Thar's your way
To the left of yon tree;
But--a--look h'yur, say?
Won't you come up to tea?
No? Well, then, the next time you're passin'; and ask after
Dow,--and thet's me.

(A poem by Bret Harte)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hydrotherapy for the Soul--Time for Ichetucknee

Saturday's plans for a float trip at Ichetucknee Springs State Park nearly fell apart. The three of us--SAM, Daughter, and I--certainly needed a break from the daily routine. SAM's daytime job gets a little stressful at times. Daughter has been busy trying to build her massage practice here in Tallahassee (not an easy task in this economy). I was ready to get away from thinking about something that happened to me Friday evening. It's not something I can talk about just yet because it involves future plans. Call it superstition if you want, but talking about the future, at least here on the blog, usually gets me into hot water. So a little of the cold stuff (spring-fed river water) would be just the ticket. I consider it hydrotherapy for the soul.

Saturday morning the three of us sat around sipping our coffee and tea, trying to decide if we wanted to make the effort and the drive east and south to visit Ichetucknee. SAM reminded us that the trip would require a tight schedule. First, we'd want to check in at a hotel in Lake City on Saturday afternoon. Next, we'd go visit the High Springs downtown area, something we missed on our last visit. Then (after having secured reservations by phone on the way), we'd enjoy dinner at the Great Outdoors Restaurant in High Springs and maybe catch some live music on the patio. Finally, after (hopefully) a good night's sleep and early breakfast at the hotel, we'd be on our way to the springs for a tube float trip, arriving at the state park no later than 8 a.m. Any later than that, and you risk not being admitted. The park allows only a limited number of tubers per day because of parking space, for safety's sake, and to limit human impact on the pristine environment as much as possible. Good luck with that one!

Whew! What an agenda we were committing ourselves to. The alternative, though, was way less appealing. Stay inside all day and be bored. You really don't want to be outdoors much right now. A certain lethargy takes hold of the body and maybe the mind when the temp and percent humidity hits the 90s.
A program I watched on TV while we were waffling about our weekend plans, though, gave me just the boost of get-up-and-go that I needed (kick in the keester?). In the Heat of the Night was on one of those cable networks that feature shows from the latter half of the twentieth century. In case you're not familiar with the story, Carroll O'Connor plays Sheriff Bill Gillespie who upholds the law in a small Mississippi town called Sparta. I think the timeframe is the mid 80s when civil rights still simmered on the back burner in the South.

Sheriff Gillespie is a true Southern gentleman with a heart of gold. In this particular episode that kicked me in the keester, he takes time out of his busy schedule to visit a man in prison he had arrested for bank robbery and murder some years earlier. The man is scheduled for execution by lethal injection and wants the sheriff to be in charge of what little he has left in the world. The sheriff is puzzled as to why this man has chosen him, The Man, of all people, to handle his estate. It's simple, the elderly black man says. It's because you do what's right. The man wants the sheriff to be there the next day when the execution is to take place, and at first the peace officer declines, saying he has a busy schedule and has to immediately return to Sparta. Time. It makes prisoners of us all, doesn't it?
Long story short, the sheriff does the right thing again. At the prisoner's request, he reads a passage from the Bible, John 11: 25-26. I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die... And the next day as the man's right to life is stolen by the State (The Man?), the sheriff is there as witness, keeping eye contact with the prisoner, letting him know that someone who shares his faith cares about him. Gillespie frees himself from time's shackles.

Did we really need to go on this trip? Spend the money on fuel, food, and accommodations to free ourselves from time's shackles just to keep from being bored? It wouldn't be a noble gesture like Gillespie's, but what might come of being among other people who would submit to a tight time schedule on the weekend just to float down a cool river? It didn't take long to find out.
Before we went to dinner on Saturday evening, we decided to take advantage of the social hour at the Cabot Lodge where we were staying the night. We had been to the one in Gainesville before and enjoyed talking to strangers (imagine that!) while nibbling on snacks and sipping a glass of wine or two. This time was no different. We met a couple about our age from the Orlando area who were planning a float trip with their two grown children the next morning. There was something about the man and his wife that made conversation with them as natural as taking a dip in a cold spring on a hot day. When they sat down next to us, we were watching a news program about the heap of trouble this country/world is in right now. Who knows what's going to happen next? Funny thing, we all came to the same conclusion. The Man (of Galilee) knows. Not to worry. Pray for each other? Keep in touch? Sure.

We saw the couple with their kids the next morning, Sunday, bright and early, and wished them a safe journey down the river and home again.