Friday, March 04, 2011

Friday Ramble - Forget

Forget hails from before 900 CE, coming to us through the Middle English foryeten and the Old English forg ( i ) etan. All are cognate with the Old Saxon fargetan and the Old High German firgezzan, meaning much the same thing.

The first part of the word comes from the Old English for - meaning away, off, to the utmost degree, extremely, or wrongly. When added to words of Old English origin, for- generally has a negative or privative connotation, and many of the words incorporating it are now considered archaic: forbid; forbear; forswear; forbearance. If you have not already guessed, I have a passion for archaic words and delight in their origins. The second part of the word, get, hails from the Middle English geten, the Old English -gietan and the Old Norse geta meaning to receive, obtain or beget. Beget??? What ho, hallelujah, three cheers, there is an element of creativity involved in this week's wordy equation.

Put for- and get- together, and the result is a word describing our inability to remember something from the past or call it into mind. We omit that something or leave it behind in our earthly travels, and our doing may be either intentional or unintentional - we do so on purpose or we do it without thinking. Sometimes, notions of impropriety come into play. Forgetting (as in forgetting one's self) also means to say or do something improper, something not befitting one's rank, character or station in life. When I was a child, one of my elderly aunts liked to refer to such behaviours as impertinence, and I smile now when I think of her doing it.

What is the word forget doing here today? Yesterday morning, I thought I would post Lisel Mueller's beautiful "Scenic Route" here and use a favorite photo of an old window to illustrate the poem. Nothing doing.... As often as I encounter that poignant image when I am poking about in my photo archives, yesterday I could not remember where I had stored it and searched for it in vain. Having said that, there were an amazing number of photos to go through in my quest for the right image.

This old hen is becoming forgetful, and she has to write everything down in her little Moleskine these days, but that is quite all right, and mirabile dictu, things do have a way of working out. Finding and using the image this morning rather than yesterday is apt, for the dear old house and its window have long been abandoned and forgotten, and they break my heart every time I pass by.


Angie said...

What a beautiful, stately house it must have been in it's 'youth'. I would love to see a picture of the whole house...abandoned structures really capture my imagination.

Tabor said...

The stableness of the color of the wood is what attracts me. It seems weathered but unbowed.

the wild magnolia said...

This old hen, knows exactly what you speak of, writing down many things these days!

Love the word rambles!

By the photo of the old house windows, I knew I would love it. I have a thing for old homes, barns..things from the past.

Thanks for the sharing.


Mystic Meandering said...

And this old hen has resorted to post-it notes for years - making lists of lists stuck all over the place :)

The architecture of the window in your photo reminds me of some of the old dilapidated Victorian style houses in New England, where I grew up. Christine