I was thinking about words again this morning.
Yesterday, I closed my post with the word “immolation”.
This morning, I woke up thinking about “emulation”.
I also thought about “emollient”.
That’s a pretty amazing thing to me….so many different words, so many different meanings. That’s a lot of stuff to learn in a lifetime.
And the funny thing about it is how many words sound similiar…but have such different meanings and effects.
Like if we tell someone we love them it has a completely different effect than if we tell them that we loath them, even though the two words roll off the tongue with the same ease.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of a really subtle inflection in our choice of words and how we deliver them…so even the same words can have a different meaning depending on how we say them.
It’s all just some weird recipe…”lower the heat” or “misread the instructions” and we’re going to get some bad results.
How about the tribes who use a series of clicks and pops to talk to each other? Are there masters of sarcasm in a language system like that?
Is there someone in the tribe who is constantly saying, “what did he say? What did you just click to me?! Oh no you didn’t!!” click click, pop pop.
I’ve tried to be careful about what I say. I’ve tried to be careful in my choice of words. I’ve said things before that if I was fishing, I’d say to myself, “REEL IT IN! REEL IT IN! DIDN’T YOU HEAR ME? I SAID YOU’VE GOT TO REEL IT IN!”
For something so ephemeral, it’s hard to get some things to fly back into my mouth and brain.
Some words seem to be boulder sized hail in a land of perpetual ice.
It’s just another bad wind that won’t float away…some dark firefly that someone’s captured and put into a Mason jar.
Because I think that’s really what I do…at least I seem to…put all the hurtful things that I’ve said or that other people have said to me into a clear container so I can look at them as frequently as I want to.
“Do you want to see my collection? See….down at the bottom of the jar…all those dead things…yeah, that’s my collection. It may not mean a lot to you, but it must be precious to me. Why else would I have held onto it this long?”
You can’t really fly a kite on a sour dead wind. I can’t really enjoy my life with a Mason jar filled with regret and past transgressions.
Here’s the second part of that David Wilcox song. It’s from a collection called East Asheville Hardware that he released in 1996.
I don’t know…my intentions are usually good. But my bones get tired and my head starts to ache and soon I’m trotting out all the mean and coarse words I can muster.
Nothing really rough (usually) …but I could be kinder.
“Ideals” are easier first thing in the morning.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll talk about the difference between “tiny fish” and “microfiche”.