Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday Ramble - Enoughness

The adjective form of this week's word dates from before the year 900, having its origin in the Middle English enogh, and Old English genōh; both are cognate with the German genug, Gothic ganohs and  Old Norse nōgr.  The Old English geneah (it suffices) and Sanskrit naśati (reaches or reaching) are kindred words.

Roget gives us the following: abundant, adequate, ample, full, sufficient, suitable, acceptable, bountiful, comfortable, competent, complete, copious, decent, enough already, plentiful and satisfying.  Frugal and its noun form frugality are modern kin and words I sometimes use in conversation.

I find myself thinking of Lewis Hyde, and if you haven't already read his The Gift or Trickster Makes This World, please consider doing it. To cultivate enoughness is see things differently, to make the best possible use of what we are given, to appreciate what we already have and embrace the non-commercial aspects of our creativity. It is to tread lightly on the earth, reducing our ecological footprint and lessening our demands on a world strained almost beyond its regenerative powers by human excess, greed and contempt.

Cultivating enoughness, we use what we have been given with grace, respect and thanksgiving.  We partake of a wild and earthy fruitfulness, a careful abundance and an ethic of universal stewardship. We walk through this world rooted and knowing our place in it, live as the good stewards, artists and creators we were meant to be. Lewis Hyde says it a lot better than I ever could.

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