Getting up at dawn . . .
Down south, the small talk over morning coffee often includes the question: “What time do you get up at home in January?”
“Dawn,” we reply. They appear impressed.
Coffee steam drifts up from my favourite black mug as I watch, and wait, for Grey Mountain to move. Someone, writing about mountains, said, “If you watch a mountain long enough you can see it move.”
I believed them — I’m still watching.
The only move I’ve seen a mountain make was dust and rocks roaring into Chilkoot Lake near Haines, during the Alaskan earthquake of ‘58. I don’t think that counts.
I haven’t seen a mountain move yet, but it sure fits a morning mood.
Then there it is, a tiny cloud amid a bunch of greys, grabbing a bit of the morning sun and blushing pink. The fire copies the cloud and matches the coffee’s warmth.
It’s dawn! It’s 9:30 a.m. and we have to explain it to nine out of 10 of our south-of-60 friends to garner a reluctant morning smile.
I’ll probably see a mountain move before I’ll meet a moment where the word “jentacular” will be of much use, although it fits dawn in January like a glove.
‘Jentare’, the news clip tells me, came from the Latin, meaning, “to breakfast. ” Writer Michael Griffiths used it this way: “The gentleman loved to hold that crackling rectangle in front of his face (folded, of course, into courteous fourths), loved the slant of the jentacular sun, the slightly acrid odour of the newsprint, the snappy headlines.”
Of the 540,000 words experts say are in the English language there are many like those deep-sea monsters scientists keep discovering, which never make it to the surface. And if they did, we wouldn’t know what they were anyway.
So I guess a jentacular sun is a “breakfast sun, but mine’s just pink today.”
“Ain’t” ain’t right, we’re admonished, but it and others even lower are mixed in with a lot of mighty fine words and that’s what’s so wonderful, so unusual, so mysterious, and so much fun about our English language, especially when children get hold of it.
Children on love and marriage:
“Love is like an avalanche where you have to run for your life,” said nine-year-old John.
Ava, practical and wise for her eight years said: “One of you should know how to write a cheque because, even if you have tons of love, there is still going to be a lot of bills.”
Ten-year-old Regina is cautious: “I’m not rushing into love, I’m finding fourth grade hard enough,” although Angie … well, is she a modern child, or what? “Most men,” she says, “are brainless, so you might have to try more than once to find a live one.”
Allan, 10, counters with: “You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like if you like sports, she should love it —you like sports and she should keep the chips and dip coming.”
Words can be puzzling too, eh?
A long time ago in Manitoba, Mr. Doug Parisian went into a restaurant with a seeing-eye dog and was refused service because he would not tie his dog outside.
Blind since birth, he appealed to Manitoba’s Human Rights Commission in June 1985.
The judge tossed it out.
The decision: “The law is badly written. He, or anyone else who is blind, has to prove they’re blind.”
Really? Did common sense drop off somewhere along the line?
And then there’s the eductor truck …
Photo by someone, somewhere in the world who sent it to the world on the internet.
A tip of the hat to our very roots, our language! “Write on your heart that every day is the best day of the year.” (Ralph W. Emerson).
Have some happy dawns till they’re gone!