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.

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)

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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.
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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.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

2016: Time For Another Presidential Election and #Trump-Pence-A-Bag!

Feed the Birds! #Trump-Pence-A-Bag

Please excuse my poor attempt at artwork. I just can't help myself, what with the presidential election coming up in just a few more months. I used to think that presidential candidates (or even presidents) should be models of dignity and decorum, great statesmen or women, not so eager to be making asses of themselves or careless with sensitive, classified information. There must have been one or two of them in the not-so-distant past.

Well, I guess too many sitcoms, talk shows, and silly game shows, not to mention reality television, have dulled our nation's sense and sensibility to the point that we think it doesn't matter who is leading this country anymore. It could be that this country's moral compass has been tampered with to the point that we don't know or care what's right or wrong. Scientists will probably tell us that sunspots have messed it up or that the tilt of the earth is just a wee bit off and so are we.

Maybe it's just me that's a wee bit off. For some reason, I can't summon up any enthusiasm for this year's presidential election. But at least I can find some humor in it. I hope you do too.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Coaxing Old Gardening and Blogging Habits and Marketing My Tonico Jardin


"Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man but coaxed downstairs a step at a time." (from Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar)

As you can see, I've been coaxing my gardening habit since we moved back to Southern Illinois. Old habits die hard and so do (I hope!) old gardeners (and bloggers?). This one anyway is still alive and kicking.


I wonder if the Echinacea I've planted in my garden is adding years to my life? 


Or could it be the Salvia?


Perhaps it's the Bee Balm?


If there were a way to bottle and market this Tonico Jardin I've coaxed here, I would be a wealthy woman... 


...or perhaps I am one already.

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."