Words. They are such simple little things. They are as common as sunshine, rain, and breathing.
Words. We forget what they mean because we use them so often. Glibly, idly, sharply, softly, happily, or angrily, most everyone uses words to communicate. But do we really think about the words we use? Do we ever pause to consider if the word that leaps immediately to mind in a conversation is the word we want to convey our idea as exactly as possible to another person? I try to do that, but I do not always succeed.
I have favorite words. I guess everyone has a favorite word or two. The words I favor are words I enjoy pondering occasionally. And the list of favorites grows all the time. But today I thought I would list only a few of them, in the interest of sharing them without overwhelming everyone with reams and reams of those simple little things we call “words.”
Star is a small word. Rhymes with “far.” Maybe that is why I like it so much. It makes me think of possibilities, of that something that is just out there, waiting to be seen, experienced – it reminds me that it is just over there. Just out there…
I have always liked this word. It sparkles, sort of like a star would. I think I have liked it since I saw Lady and the Tramp. A little, two syllable word that rolls off the tongue. It is a small word, but it can often convey a wealth of respect.
This is a fun word. It reminds me of the German word ‘raus,’ which means ‘out.’ A roustabout is any unskilled or semiskilled laborer. It also means “one who stirs up trouble,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. The term is most often applied to oil field workers. It is also the common name for circus workers, those who raise the tents and handle the animals and equipment for the performers. “Roustabouts” makes me think of lots of people jumping into a job and having fun doing it. It is, as I said, a fun word.
This is a word that ripples like water in moonlight; hearing it said, I could care less about the metal it names. I have seen so many trinkets in Hollywood movies that I often wonder if real gold or silver would rouse any avaricious urges in me.
Regardless, the word still sings to me as Prince Valiant’s sword did, with the music of a distant, little bell. I hope it always does.
Fury. Beauty. Strength. Power. Chaos. That is what the word “storm” brings to my mind. I have been witness to a lot of thunderstorms in my lifetime. Some have been absolutely terrifying experiences. Others have been passing moments of pure excitement. Whether I ever see another one or no, “storm” will always bring to me the roiling, tumultuous magnificence of those fierce thunderstorms I have seen.
I enjoy music, as everyone should know by now. But it is not a particular song I am mentioning here. No, I am talking about the label we give to words someone’s voice sets to music: “singing.” If anything else ever gave me the idea of what having wings would feel like, it would be singing. Somehow, when words are combined with the proper rhythm, I just want to fly.
Of course, the feeling and the reality hardly complement each other, since I have no wings with which to fly. But someday I may not have that obstacle.
This word rhymes nicely with ‘rust.’ And oh, how quickly “trust” can “rust” away when it is misused or taken under false pretenses. I would much rather have trust than all the jewels in Smaug’s stolen hoard. This one small word, delicate as old metal, is more precious (pardon the pun) than even the brilliant Arkenstone of Erebor to me. And yet I think you could more easily discover a hundred Arkenstones in a day than you could find simple little “trust” in a lifetime.
“Hope” is a word I was ruminating on almost a year ago now, when I was contemplating what my first blog posts should be about.
“Hope” is a small word, like most of the others I have so far listed. Say it quickly or carelessly, and its lifespan is as short as frail glass. Say it carefully and thoughtfully, though, and you may find that it lingers in the air somewhat longer than a snowflake in mid-August. “Hope” is a small but stubborn word. It always manages to pop up in a sentence somewhere, “I hope they have the book I want at the library!”; “I hope I win the lottery!”; “I hope it doesn’t rain!”; etc.
It peeks out at us the way that elves peek out at the heroes in fairytales from behind trees. Elusive, spritely, and full of cheer, it can also be as stubborn as a taut rope. When all seems bleak, dark, and lost, something keeps us tied tightly to the possibility of tomorrow. Something small, fragile, but durable as a diamond: “hope.”
The most mysterious small word in the English language – second only to “love” – is, possibly, “life.” So many people struggle to define this small, four letter, and one syllable word. Even biologists, those students of “life,” cannot agree on its exact meaning. What is “life”?
It is a word I taste more than I see or hear it. It has a dewy, moist taste. This word settles on my mind, when I sit down and really think about it, like mist settles on my tongue on a foggy day. Mystifying, yet electrifying, full of risk yet beckoning with promise. As I think about “life” I suddenly feel as though there are no boundaries in the world. As if I could just get up and run out the door to the endless horizon and keep going, a la Bilbo Baggins. But if I ever give myself the chance to answer that seductive urge, I may just leave behind more than my pocket handkerchief! There are moments when I want to leave behind all necessities and just rush off after that tempting something whispering to me from the distance. Someday, I might just chase after it.
And then I will completely understand what Louis L’Amour meant when he told his daughter, “Adventure is just a romantic word for trouble.” J
These are a few of my favorite words, words I enjoy meditating on in quiet moments. What are the words that you, my readers, enjoy?
The Mithril Guardian