Chris, could you get me a glass of water?


The quality of the air has changed. Winter is releasing her compelling grip on the northern hemisphere, creating space within us and around us for the return of Spring.  Within this quiet transition, something changes. It’s as if winter and her commanding nature softens, bearing quiet witness to the beauty of the next season. 

The sea even responds, taking on a viscous, milkshake like quality as the waves journey to the shore in a manner that appears slower, intentional. The sky, too, is transformed. The bulbous clouds of frosty days are replaced by the dramatic wisps of crimson sunsets.  I am declaring Winter  to be (almost)over.  February will not fill the dykes and alas, March will not be a long and hungry month. In the quietness of these long evenings, I find myself drifting towards a bit of melancholy, thinking of anything and everything related to words. Words. 

The books that line my bookshelves speak to a long-standing relationship with words. These books sit silently upon those wooden shelves, almost like old friends gathering at a coffee shop, each with their own experiences and narratives. I like to believe that they have forged close friendships here in this cozy reading room in the Easter Cove. Wildflower  identification guides are cozied up willingly with steamy romances, books on spirituality prop up quirky travelogues,  nostalgic journals sit snugly with biology texts. The tens  of thousands of words that sit here seem to leap from the worn pages and fly around the room like on unruly birds.  With each article, story, essay, I am drawn even to the mechanics of words. Words like tuba, a two syllable powerhouse. Or perpendicular, a word with built in edged. Or decadent, the very sound invoking sensuality.

A few weeks ago, Mr. Mick’s glorious description of life  in pre- Confederation Branch popped up on social media. As Chris and I watched this man, both stalwart and jolly, describe his life, his words as much as his joyful manner stood out. He described himself as a “fish killer”and a “highliner”, he spoke of cutting the grass in his drawers. The Branch voice at its finest. Mr. Mick’s commentary reminded me of another word that has defined Branch for many generations-water. A simple word used in countries and cultures the world over.  Here, though, our pronunciation of it has caused controversy for generations.  As teenagers we were taunted with the question, “Are you drinking water on the corner?”  Really. Who would be drinking water on the corner? Yes, instead of saying “wah-ter” we say war-ter, quite proudly.  The popularity of this pronounciation has, I admit, gone out of style in recent years. There are times when it seems like Chris and I are the last proponents of water,  us and the millions and millions of people who live in Ireland, England and Australia. But that’s okay, it’s a good word. We think so. Simply put, words are important to us. On the surface, they are simply syllables living in the same house. At a deeper level, they have power beyond measure and on this early February evening as I sit in a room surrounded by words both spoken and written, I know that they have the power to inspire and to heal, whatever the season.  Post script

A post on words would not be complete without this magnificent poem, one of my favourites, by Adrienne Rich. 

Dedications

I know you are reading this poem late, before leaving your office of the one intense yellow lamp-spot and the darkening window in the lassitude of a building faded to quiet long after rush-hour. I know you are reading this poem standing up in a bookstore far from the ocean on a gray day of early spring, faint flakes driven across the plains' enormous spaces around you. I know you are reading this poem in a room where too much has happened for you to bear where the bedclothes lie in stagnant coils on the bed and the open valise speaks of flight but you cannot leave yet. I know you are reading this poem As the underground train loses momentum and before running up the stairs toward a new kind of love your life has never allowed. I know you are reading this poem by the light of the television screen where soundless images jerk and slide while you wait for the newscast from the intifada. I know you are reading this poem in a waiting-room of eyes met and unmeeting, of identity with strangers. I know you are reading this poem by fluorescent light in the boredom and fatigue of the young who are counted out, count themselves out, at too early an age. I know you are reading this poem through your failing sight, the thick lens enlarging these letters beyond all meaning yet you read on because even the alphabet is precious. I know you are reading this poem as you pace beside the stove warming milk, a crying child on your shoulder, a book in your hand because life is short and you too are thirsty. I know you are reading this poem which is not in your language guessing at some words while others keep you reading and I want to know which words they are. I know you are reading this poem listening for something, torn between bitterness and hope turning back once again to the task you cannot refuse. I know you are reading this poem because there is nothing else left to read there where you have landed, stripped as you are. —Adrienne Rich Dedications) I know you are reading this poem late, before leaving your office of the one intense yellow lamp-spot and the darkening window in the lassitude of a building faded to quiet long after rush-hour. I know you are reading this poem standing up in a bookstore far from the ocean on a gray day of early spring, faint flakes driven across the plains' enormous spaces around you. I know you are reading this poem in a room where too much has happened for you to bear where the bedclothes lie in stagnant coils on the bed and the open valise speaks of flight but you cannot leave yet. I know you are reading this poem As the underground train loses momentum and before running up the stairs toward a new kind of love your life has never allowed. I know you are reading this poem by the light of the television screen where soundless images jerk and slide while you wait for the newscast from the intifada. I know you are reading this poem in a waiting-room of eyes met and unmeeting, of identity with strangers. I know you are reading this poem by fluorescent light in the boredom and fatigue of the young who are counted out, count themselves out, at too early an age. I know you are reading this poem through your failing sight, the thick lens enlarging these letters beyond all meaning yet you read on because even the alphabet is precious. I know you are reading this poem as you pace beside the stove warming milk, a crying child on your shoulder, a book in your hand because life is short and you too are thirsty. I know you are reading this poem which is not in your language guessing at some words while others keep you reading and I want to know which words they are. I know you are reading this poem listening for something, torn between bitterness and hope turning back once again to the task you cannot refuse. I know you are reading this poem because there is nothing else left to read there where you have landed, stripped as you are. —Adrienne Rich










































































































































































































































































































































































































































Featured Review
Tag Cloud
No tags yet.

© 2023 by The Book Lover. Proudly created with Wix.com

Copyrights
  • Facebook B&W
  • Twitter B&W
  • Google+ B&W