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.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Our New Liesegang on Life

Gaining a new "Liesegang" on life
Southern Illinois is nothing if not rich in photogenic rock formations. These particular sandstone ledges on a trail in the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge and others like them have served as backdrop and inspiration for many of our (SAM's and my) adventures and misadventures. The Liesegang rings that have formed inexplicably over time and space remind us that the shaping of us, individually and together, is not done yet.

We are endlessly fascinated with the many faces that Southern Illinois presents for our inspection and delight. Every step we take on trails throughout the region precipitates an idea, an action, perhaps a prayer:

Lord, make us be solid yet fluid, weathered yet refined. And may our imperfections, our follies, our blunders be nothing if not instructive, nothing if not amusing?

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Seeing 555 Through the Lens of Gematria: When Laws of Mixed Bird Offerings and Calculating Menstruation No Longer Apply

Seeing 555? It may be positive, may be negative...

Gematria /ɡəˈmtriə/ (Hebrewגמטריא‬ גימטריא‬, plural גמטראות‬ or גמטריאות‬, gematriot)[1] originated as an Assyro-Babylonian-Greek system of alphanumeric code or cipher later adopted into Jewish culture that assigns numerical value to a word, name, or phrase in the belief that words or phrases with identical numerical values bear some relation to each other or bear some relation to the number itself as it may apply to Nature, a person's age, the calendar year, or the like. (Source: Wikipedia)

For the last several weeks, on multiple occasions, I have seen 555 when checking the time on my phone or on other time-keeping devices. The latest occurrence was this morning when I was preparing to make coffee and found the digital display on the coffee pot was blinking 12:00. I knew for a fact that time was incorrect as I had been awake, tossing and turning since 2:30, so I turned around to look at the clock on the stove and saw those three fives again. Could this be a digital dispatch from angels? Some websites claim a spiritual message is being conveyed if you are astute enough to take notice. Of course, divining the meaning becomes a little tricky depending on which online source you choose to believe. 

If I were inclined to see things from a negative point of view (who me? never!), as some experts suggest I might, 555 could spell disaster. Dare I say death? Icky! I would rather perceive 555 as something positive, a good change in fortune coming my way. The number 5 does seem to be a forward looking, progressive sort of thing, kicking dust back in the face of the Past. I can buy into that meaning. The past few years have not been particularly advantageous for me or my loved ones, and I would just as soon not have to face anything like them again. 

I could, as J. D. Vance, the author of Hillbilly Elegy, lean into his Marines-instilled stance that my circumstances are mostly a result of making poor choices in life, or I could look through the prism of pragmatism, a philosophy that claims an ideology or theory is true and should be adhered to if it works satisfactorily (for whom, I'd like to know?) and tossed out if it doesn't. Better yet, I could be "foolish" enough to think that there is a divine purpose to my meandering missteps, a labyrinthine challenge to my ingenuity and spiritual fortitude. I could wander endlessly, (like Abraham?) seeking to understand why I'm here, what I'm made for, and where I'm going, or I could just be satisfied with my LOT in life, vexed in my soul but reluctant to step away from the source of the vexation. 

Decisions, decisions! If only life today were as easy to navigate as in the old days. The ancients didn't have to worry about retirement planning, market analysis, healthcare costs, etc. Things were fairly simple, if you knew what was good for you and paid attention to what your elders advised:
Rabbi Eleazar Chisma[9] said: the laws of mixed bird offerings and the key to the calculations of menstruation days—these, these are the body of the halakhah. The calculation of the equinoxesand gematriot are the desserts of wisdom.
An alternative translation to the Hebrew word פרפראות is "minor side dishes".
Minor dishes may be served before, during, or after a meal, to add interest and variety; they are the appetizers, side dishes, desserts, tid-bits — never to be served as main dishes. In other words, these sciences, while important, are yet only auxiliary and secondary. What is primary is the Torah. What is central is the life-giving law. (Source: Wikipedia) 

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Gulf Between (Us)

Peanut has bid this world adieu

Ode on the death of a favorite cat

Twas on a lofty vase’s side,
Where China’s gayest art had dyed
    The azure flowers that blow;
Demurest of the tabby kind,
The pensive Selima, reclined,
    Gazed on the lake below.

Her conscious tail her joy declared;
The fair round face, the snowy beard,
    The velvet of her paws,
Her coat, that with the tortoise vies,
Her ears of jet, and emerald eyes,
    She saw; and purred applause.

Still had she gazed; but ‘midst the tide
Two angel forms were seen to glide,
    The genii of the stream:
Their scaly armor’s Tyrian hue
Through richest purple to the view
    Betrayed a golden gleam.

The hapless nymph with wonder saw:
A whisker first and then a claw,
    With many an ardent wish,
She stretched in vain to reach the prize.
What female heart can gold despise?
    What cat’s averse to fish?

Presumptuous maid! with looks intent
Again she stretched, again she bent,
    Nor knew the gulf between.
(Malignant Fate sat by and smiled)
The slippery verge her feet beguiled,
    She tumbled headlong in.

Eight times emerging from the flood
She mewed to every watery god,
    Some speedy aid to send.
No dolphin came, no Nereid stirred;
Nor cruel Tom, nor Susan heard;
    A favorite has no friend!

From hence, ye beauties, undeceived,
Know, one false step is ne’er retrieved,
    And be with caution bold.
Not all that tempts your wandering eyes
And heedless hearts, is lawful prize;
    Nor all that glisters, gold.
I thought it only fair to bridge the gulf between us and let my dear readers know that I'm still kicking in Southern Illinois and Peanut the Grand-Cat in Florida is no more. She gave us much love, was a source of joy and laughter, and comforted us in times of sadness and loss. Her illness came on quite suddenly (shallow breathing, loss of appetite) and occurred right after being boarded at an animal hospital in Tallahassee where she had received regular exams, vaccines, and previous boarding. Of course, we suspected some sort of nosocomial infection, but the vet told Daughter that x-rays showed a mass near her heart and lungs filled with fluid. The vet was fairly certain that the tumor had been present for a while, slowly compromising her health, and that the stress of being away from home and family was the proverbial nail in the coffin for Peanut.
 A nasty thing, STRESS is. Just look at the word--a serpent that swallows up serendipity and slithers across our serenity. It robs us of life's pleasure and enjoyment and ultimately of life itself. It must be a close cousin to Malignant Fate, and I hope they both soon drown in the Lake of Fire.