Friday, August 05, 2016

Friday Ramble - Sticky

Sticky is a good word for August, and an excellent word for late summer's ceaseless "toing and froing" between sun and rain, steamy and pleasantly cool, weather moderate and weather extreme. This month is an unpredictable state of affairs and a glue pot or  "sticky wicket" at the best of times.

This week’s mucilaginous word offering hails from the Old English stician  meaning “to pierce, stab, transfix”" as well as “to adhere, be embedded, stay fixed or be fastened”. Then there are the Proto-Germanic stik, Old Saxon stekan, Dutch stecken, Old High German stehhan and German stechen all meaning much the same thing.  Most of this week's word kin are rooted in the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) form steig meaning "to affix, point or be pointed".  The Latin instigare (to goad) and stinguere (to incite or impel), the Greek stizein (to prick or puncture) and Old Persian tigra (sharp or pointed) are cognates, and for some strange reason, so is the Russian stegati (to quilt).

Early August mornings are cool and shady, lovely times for walks and hanging out in the garden, but by ten we three are happy to be indoors and looking out into the dense sticky heat beyond our windows. At twilight, off we go again and potter around, peering into village hedgerows for tiny acorns, ripening plums and tiny flowers blooming unseen in the leafy depths like late summer jewels.

This week, we discovered a perfect spider web in the hedgerow, beaded with pearls of dew and looking for all the world like a fabulous (and very sticky) neck ornament - it was the artfully spun work of the orb weaver better known as the common garden spider.  From frond to frond, the lady’s undertaking was glutinous and sublime - anything and everything except common.

Watching the beaded strands shimmer and dance in the early light, I thought of a friend, now moved away, who used to take web walks with me and occasionally rang the doorbell in the wee hours of the morning when she found a whopper. I thought too of the metaphor of Indra's jeweled web and how we are all connected in the greater scheme of things. Emaho!

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