Sunday, May 4, 2014

Cheshire Cat Moons and Something

Ava and I are lying on the trampoline, watching the clouds run fast by an early daylight moon.

"Look Dad, it's a Cheshire Cat moon!" That's what we call the crescent moons that look like the Cheshire Cat's smile floating in the sky.

Ava is convinced that the moon is moving toward the clouds. People thought for centuries that the sun revolved around the earth, so who am I to tell her she is wrong? We look closer and I show her the clouds moving. And fast.

"What did you say about air, Dad? That it grows up to become wind?"

"You mean what did I write? I wrote that wind is air that has learned to speak. But how did you know that?"

"Grammy told me at the bus stop. Wind is air that learned to speak, that's right."

Her nine-year-old mind contains the wind and the sky and the moon.

Twenty-five or so years ago, someone changed the word "stuff" for me forever. What are you thinking about? "Oh, stuff." And later, stuff was explained in a handwritten and doodled letter in the mail. And that word has made me smile ever since.

My mind has been on the changing nature of words, language, how different words can mean different things to people. Like stuff. Like geraniums, which for us mean my grandmother Shoey, who spent as much time as she could in her gardens and greenhouse in Towson, and then Easton. Who planted geraniums. So we hear "geranium" and Shoey is there.

"Something" is a word with that kind of loadedness. "Remind me to tell you something later." "What are you thinking about?" "Something." "He/She's really something." "I've got something on my mind."

Blue is loaded. Tattoos are loaded. Cutting the grass is loaded. Running, cutting the grass, and the shower are the three places I do my most creative thinking.

Loaded words. A personal lexicon or vocabulary. Words imbued with personal meaning. That would really be something.

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