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, February 16, 2016

Black? White? Brown Month? Pied Beauty Month!

Pied Beauty
(poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, pub. 1918)

Glory be to God for dappled things--
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls, finches' wings;

Landscape plotted and pieced--fold, fallow, and plough;

And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how??)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;

He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change;
Praise him.

Arlee Bird of the blog Tossing It Out, in his post dated 2-15-16, observes that in this month, known as Black History Month in the United States and Canada, much (maybe too much?) has been made of "black" history: 

"There is no doubt that the descendants of African diaspora have made important contributions throughout the world, but so have the peoples from many other cultures.  My preference is to become aware of as much history as I can absorb and have a very keen knowledge of the history that made my country of the United States of America what it is and to discern where it can go in the positive sense."

SAM has told me, and I find it interesting, that many job applications now have a new choice to fill in for the category "race." It's "two or more;" which, I believe, is as it should be. No one race can (or should) be claimed to the exclusion of (or preference for) any other one. There are unintended ethical, legal, and political consequences for making racial distinctions, as we all should know by now. We, as Americans, must acknowledge our differences but celebrate our unity--one nation, you know?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Land o' Goshen!: Finding Hidden Explosions and 'Sunlight on the Garden' in Southern Illinois ('Egypt')

A "pebble pup" pores over a pile of mostly purple fluorite for sale that was extracted from a mine in Hardin County

Weekend before last, we traveled with a group of ardent rock hounds, members of the Southern Illinois Earth Science Club, to Hardin County. We were on a quest to find ancient, cryptoexplosive breccia and associated treasure, hiding for untold centuries under Hicks Dome and elsewhere nearby, that miners would eventually discover: Fluorite...

and chunks of iron. We raked and picked through a section of the leaf-littered forest for the tailings of a long-abandoned iron mine. An old iron furnace nearby that dates back to Civil War days helped to fire up my imagination and make me wax poetic in this land called Egypt...

The Sunlight on the Garden

The sunlight on the garden
Hardens and grows cold
We cannot cage the minute
Within its nets of gold,
When all is told
We cannot beg for pardon.

Our freedom as free lances
Advances towards its end;
The earth compels, upon it
Sonnets and birds descend;
And soon, my friend,
We shall have no time for dances.


The sky was good for flying
Defying the church bells
And every evil iron
Siren and what it tells:
The earth compels,
We are dying, Egypt, dying!...

(from the poem by Louis MacNeice, c.1937, 1938)

I found Mr. MacNeice's poem in my Norton Anthology of English Literature and was struck by the editors' comment that "in love with life's irreducible multiplicity, he [MacNeice] strives to embrace life's flux, despite an underlying sense of sadness and, sometimes, tragedy: 'All our games are funeral games.' " The editors note that he traveled to the United States at the beginning of World War II. I can't help but wonder if he ventured into Southern Illinois during his travels? The words of his poem certainly have an eerie sense of belonging here. 

The book club at our local library is at present reading Murder in Little Egypt by Darcy O'Brien. It's a true story of filicide, but I consider that it's also a story of community culpability. Mr. O'Brien's in-depth study of the history of this place called Egypt at the beginning of the book supplies the reader with building blocks for constructing a pyramid of plausibility: Tyrants/terrorists are, essentially, enabled by their communities. "When all is told, we cannot beg for pardon."