Words. They rule my life and the lives of us all; how we use them; how we express ourselves . The choices we make in our communication can hurt, harm, hinder and heal.
As I age, there are so many words I forget and can’t recapture. They float over my head, just out of reach.
A recollection returns to me frequently as I fall to sleep. My mind travels back through the years, memories of childhood events and conversations. I remember the shouts and cries of childhood friends drifting to me through my open bedroom window, their screaming chorus in the twilight. Their laughter, their voices return to me. What did I hear? "Ollie Ollie Oxen Free!" I wonder over the emotions those twilight shouts evoked in my little seven-year-old brain. I was longing to be with my daytime friends, as they ran wildly through the dewey nightfall grass. Did their cries of joy evoke envy as I heard their rapture and recognized my sorrow that I was not part of their free-wheeling joy?
Are there other messages I can drag from the recesses of my ancient memory? Probably not. Yet, maybe.
Another recollection, this one of birds, screaming loudly in our hedges in Great Neck, NY: The berries were bright orange and tiny. What was the name of those hedges? Pyracantha?
The birds feasted on the bright, orange, fermented berries. They became drunk with their sweetness, and crashed to their death flying into our glass windows, their demise reflected on the mirrored surfaces. Thud. Thud. I remember that sound clearly, their death throes. It took me weeks to conjure up the name of those hedges. Pyracantha? Yes. Pyracantha.
I scribe newly discovered treasures into my personal dictionary. They become my daily Wordsmith. I wonder about these collected gems as I carefully document them. What exactly does this or that mean? This little notebook is my collection of vowels, nouns, syllables and sounds. As I collect new words, I always ask myself, "Will I use this in my writing? In conversation?" If I imagine I might, I file them away into my dictionary of life. If not, they are relegated to the depths of my recalcitrant brain. Today, I added Pyracantha.
There are the horrific words screaming at us daily: the shouts of hatred and anger. The screeching acrimony, the cries of pain, suffering, amidst the crashing of bombs and battles. I cringe and retreat to my little dictionary. I rediscover tender words I have savored in my glossary of life. Here are a few of my sacred collection, oft repeated which my faithful readers will recognize:
Cozy: A nest of one’s own. A safe haven.
Warmth, love security.
Nesting: A place to raise one’s young, creating a home, preparing for childbirth.
Inglenook: A secret meeting place between lovers; a hidden, private space.
Hiraeth: Homesickness for a home which may be or never was, the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of you past.
Dealing first hand of bananas game
Friendship: The act of reaching out and connecting with another; supporting and loving a member of one's extended tribe. Loss: The depth of sorrow. Something precious, never to be returned.
Blow Coals: Turning a minor issue into a major source of conflict.
Tonight, as I sit in my library I am surrounded by my books and art. I am endowed by my library shelves. I view the tomes that sustain me. Stories crash around me. My eyes take in the beautiful titles of authors far more talented than myself, including All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. The beauty and elegance of his writing launched me to create this "Food for Thought."
Other treasures gracing my shelves are Revelations: Diaries of Women, Green Mansions, Seven Arrows, Women’s Diaries from The Oregon Trail, Jack’s Book, Before Women Had Wings, All The Light We Cannot See, The Foxfire Books, Far From Home, A Virtuous Woman, e.e. Cummings.
I am reminded of a line from one of my favorite e.e. cummings poems:
“Over the wires your little voice came leaping…and I felt suddenly dizzy, with the jostling and shouting of merry flowers…” Who can not remember the thrill of hearing the voice of a lover or loved one at the other end of the wire?
Books are links to our lives. The authors gift us with fresh experiences, places, thoughts, words, history and points of view. I can never achieve the pinnacle of these authors. Their volumes of heart rendering, soul searching and wisdom now rest peacefully on my dusty library shelves. I am endowed with the words of years gone by and the promises and hopes offered of years to come. All I have to do is pull a book from the shelf and transport myself into another place and time through their thoughts.
Conversations are the lifeline to friends who live thousands of miles away, but are still part of my life through shared love and confidences. They are the connections to living, desire, love, teachings, and communication through the ages. They are the archangels of my soul.
My final Bananas score, I beat Tim due to his misspelling "Cerebral"
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Recently, I discovered another bit of enlightenment. The latest AARP Magazine article, “Super Agers” struck me. “Super Agers” are those whose memories are as fresh at 80 as they were at 50. Research is proving that these “Super Agers” have super-sized memory banks. I am not one of them. AARP writes the most critical factor of keeping one's mind alive and active is through connectedness. Lack of connecting with others is a leading cause of depression, which scientists say can lead to dementia. Touching other lives, as Joni Mitchell wrote and so lovingly sang, "touching lives, and surely you've touched mine" is a lesson in music.
Everyday conversations, with loved ones or strangers, keeps us vital. Paying attention staves off depression. Words are the smoke screens, the chemtrails, the visions that let the world know we are here. We either hide behind them, or stand in front of them, owning them. How we use words reveals who we are. Sometimes what is not uttered can be as important as the the thoughts we share.
I am a writer. I am one of you all. I attempt to reach you with the hieroglyphics of my heart and soul. I welcome you to my dictionary of my life, love and living.