“You can say anything you want yes sir, but it’s the words that sing, they soar and descend…I bow to them…” exclaims Chilean poet Pablo Neruda in his homage to language: “The Word.” I, too, love words, all kinds of words but especially those that sing. Take moldering for instance. I love the way it sounds almost exactly like what it actually does. If you’ve never heard of moldering, your education begins in the brief but very descriptive article under the Recreation heading in this issue of Eastman Living.
Then, there’s eutrophic, a word Woodlands and Wildlife chair Craig McArt uses to describe the particular conditions that favor plant over animal life in his latest column on bodies of water in Eastman, “Pondering Anderson Pond.” Once I read and looked up that word, I found myself wanting to include it in conversation, not an easy thing to do unless you’re talking about how certain nutrients reduce oxygen in water.
Maybe my favorite word when I was a kid was one my mother used regularly when either my brother or I, or both of us, began to drive her over the edge of sanity.
“You kids are driving me berserk,” she would exclaim.
Berserk. Now there’s a word! It actually wasn’t until I was an adult reading a wonderful children’s novel, The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer, that I learned where that sonorous word comes from. It seems that the Vikings prepared for battle by drinking a drug laced beverage that whipped them into a frenzy, giving them all of the “courage” and a lot of the power they needed to defeat their enemies. They called it “going berserk .” Of course, my first-generation, Italian- American mother would not have known the word’s origin but she always used it correctly.
“I love words so much… the unexpected ones…,” continues Neruda. If like Pablo and me, you love words, especially the resonant and unexpected, take time to listen to the language of this issue of Eastman Living. You can expect more interesting word information in future issues, and the words will always be here for you to read and repeat out loud and make your own.
“While this compost pile on the edge of our eutrophic pond is moldering , be quiet so as not to drive me berserk!” You can do it.
mccarthy.judy at gmail.com