Sydney AveyDynamic Women — Changing Times
Word Play: Random Examples of Well-Considered Words
Writers who take time to playfully consider their words twinkle like stars in a black night. Through their choice of words, they offer unique perspectives on troubling issues, clear explanations of difficult concepts, and deep appreciation for life’s connective tissue. I recently stumbled upon several examples of fine writing that made me smile
“The future of cannabis in Calaveras County hung on threads of indecision and strands of obstinance…” (Sadly, my unwillingness to subscribe to our local paper prevented me from reading the rest of what promised to be an entertaining and informative read.) But still, could the situation be any clearer? The stakeholders are at a standoff and the governing body can’t make a decision.
Discovered while browsing
In the December issue of Southwest Airlines magazine, editor Jay Heinrichs riffed on the multiple meaning of the word “spirit.” He wondered how a word derived from the Latin spiritus, meaning “breath,” could be used to describe at once alcoholic beverages, moods, team character, the third person of the Trinity, and more. In a delightful few paragraphs, he distilled the meaning down to its essence and raised the suggestion that we affirm life in small moments outside the cocktail hour or off the football field. Read the article here.
A bookstore find
I picked up a small book on the intriguing subject of silence. (Silence In the Age of Noise by Erling Kagge) Silence is much-lauded state of mind, difficult to define, even more difficult to achieve. The book is laced with phrases that glisten like fresh chocolates nestled in crinkled paper whispering “pick me.” Among other things, silence is:
“a waterfall in your brain.”
The luxury of being alone with a task.
“A key to unlock new ways of thinking.”
I think these experiences add up to deep satisfaction in small moments, nourishment that restores what our noisy environment strips away.
The Native American influence pervades the Pacific Northwest. I was particularly moved by the oration attributed to Chief Seattle exhibited the Bainbridge Island History Museum. Here’s an excerpt:
And when the last Red Man shall have perished, and the memory of my tribe shall have become a myth among the White Men, these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe, and when your children’s children think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop, upon the highway, or in the silence of the pathless woods, they will not be alone. In all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude. At night when the streets of your cities and villages are silent and you think them deserted, they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled them and still love this beautiful land. The White Man will never be alone.
Let him be just and deal kindly with my people, for the dead are not powerless. Dead, did I say? There is no death, only a change of worlds.
This is presented as Chief’s Seattle’s words in response to an offer to buy Indian lands and move the tribes to reservations. The entire piece has an eloquent tone of resignation. But, my research turned up serious doubts about who actually wrote the document. If, as some scholars believe, the words were written on the Chief’s behalf, then that’s a different story.
At the movies
Forty years ago, Star Wars debuted. This season’s offering, The Last Jedi, reminded us that the Force is “an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together.” It occurs to me that these beautiful words speak at once to the truth of science and the truth of faith.
We live in a galaxy of words that have the power to entertain and inform, nourish and restore, and inspire us to be our better selves. What is on your radar or your reading list for 2018?
© Sydney Avey