The word melt has been around since before 900, coming to us through the Middle English melten, the Old English meltan, mealt and gemæltan all meaning to liquify and (or) digest. It is cognate with the Old Norse melta and Greek méldein meaning the same thing. Then there is the Proto Germanic meltanan and West Saxon gemyltan (W.Saxon) also meaning "to make liquid". All or most of the forms spring from the Proto Indo-European (PIE) meld meaning "softness" or "to render soft". The business of word origins is a curious one indeed.
The later verb form meld (meaning variously to amalgamate, dissolve, blend or mingle) seems to be a kindred spirit, hailing instead from the Old High German melden meaning "to announce" and the Old English meldian meaning "to make known". I am not sure how we get from here to there, but malt, the germinated barley used in brewing beer and distilling whiskey is a kindred word too. Perhaps the curious relationship is defined simply by the fact that barley is softened in water and then fermented in order to produce malt.
For the past few days, I have been watching as the icicles dangling from the eaves of the little blue house in the village and its various garden structures dwindle and melt away. A favorite springtime exercise in March is wandering about with camera and macro lens and photographing the watery stalactites as they droop at their moorings, grow skinny and then disappear into the earth, drop by shining drop.
Like the artfully frosted windows of January and February, this month's vanishing icicles are an old love and something my camera is always eager to capture. Within the icy wands over my head are worlds great and small and too numerous to imagine - the great wide world all around us and whole multitudes of microscopic universes complete within themselves and teeming with life and radiance. Sometimes the melting icicles hold merely this doddering photographer and her lens; at other times they are filled with sky and clouds and bare trees and wonder and this remarkable changing season. It's all good, and the Old Wild Mother's art is better "stuff" than I shall ever make.