Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday Ramble - Melt

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, make soft 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)  root meldh or mel meaning "softness" or "to render soft". The study of word origins on a rainy morning is a fine thing. 

Malt, the germinated barley used in brewing beer and distilling whiskey is a kindred word. The curious relationship between melt and malt can be explained simply by the fact that both processes involve softening of some sort. On the other hand, the verb meld is something else entirely. It means to "dissolve, combine, blend or mingle", originating in the Old High German melden "to announce" and Old English meldian "to make known". 
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 under 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.


Tabor said...

I have to go get my socks on...that looks so cold. Beautiful, but cold.

Mystic Meandering said...

The way you describe the word "melt" here reminds me of alchemy - the magical changes that occur at this time of year in between seasons - the melting, liquifying, blending and merging - to create something new and alive :)