Friday, March 31, 2017

Friday Ramble - Melt/Melting

This week's word has been around since before 900, coming to us through the Middle English melten, Old English meltan, mealt and gemæltan  all meaning to liquify and (or) digest.  It's cognate with the Old Norse melta  and Greek méldein  meaning much the same thing, then the Proto Germanic meltanan and West Saxon gemyltan (W.Saxon) meaning "to make liquid".  All or most of the forms in existence spring from the Proto Indo-European (PIE)  meld meaning "softness" or "to render soft". The study of word origins is a fine thing.

The verb meld (meaning variously to dissolve, blend or mingle) seems at first glance to be  kin, but it originates in 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 also kin.  Perhaps that curious state of affairs is defined simply by barley being softened in water to produce wort.

In recent weeks, we watched as icicles dangling from the eaves of the little blue house in the village dwindled day by day. We grow some fabulous icicles up here, and a favorite springtime exercise is wandering about with the camera and photographing them as they wilt at their lofty moorings, grow skinny and then disappear into the earth, drop by shining drop.

In the icy wands dangling over my head and suspended in melting streams below my restless feet are worlds great and small and too numerous to imagine.  The world around us and its multitudes of microscopic universes are complete within themselves and teeming with life, science and enchantment, all wrapped up together and happy with the arrangement.

Sometimes melting ice holds the doddering photographer and her camera.  At other times, it is filled with sky, clouds, bare trees and tiny sprigs of emerging green, all expressions of this incandescently changing season.  Mother Earth's creations are finer "stuff" than I shall ever be able to dream up.  I just wander around and chronicle her doings with lens and notebook.

Happy April, everyone!

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