Friday, June 15, 2018

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.

If you haven't already read Lewis Hyde's The Gift, Trickster Makes This World or Common As Air, think about it. In Hyde's view, to cultivate enoughness is see things a little (or a lot) differently, to make use of the gifts we have been given, to appreciate what we already have and embrace the non-commercial (or commonwealth) aspects of our creativity. We need to tread lightly on the earth, reduce our ecological footprint, lessen our demands on a world strained almost beyond its regenerative powers by human excess, greed, cruelty and contempt. Is the cup of our earthly days half empty or half full? It's up to us.

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.

No comments: