Friday, April 24, 2020

Friday Ramble - Enough

This week's word dates from before the year 900, having its origin in the Middle English enogh, and Old English genōh. Both forms are cognate with the German genug, Gothic ganohs and  Old Norse nōgr, all meaning reached or sufficient. The Old English geneah (it suffices) and Sanskrit naśati (reaches or reaching) are kindred words. At the end of it all are the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) forms *h₂eh₂nóḱe (has reached, attained) and h₂neḱ (to reach).

Roget gives us other words for the same thing, or nearly the same thing: abundant, adequate, ample, full, sufficient, suitable, acceptable, bountiful, comfortable, competent, complete, copious, decent, enough already, plentiful and satisfying.  Frugal and frugality are modern kin, and one of these days, they will turn up in a wordy ramble.

Lewis Hyde makes good arguments for embracing the commonwealth aspects of our existence and sharing them freely. In The Gift, Trickster Makes This World and Common as Air: Revolution, Art and Ownership, he makes powerful arguments for doing just that. Although his focus is on imagination, creativity and intellectual property, there are a thousand-and-one wisdoms in his work for the pandemic times that have turned our precious lives into islands and cloisters.

Have a look too at the works of Barry Lopez and Terry Tempest Williams. If you can find a copy in your local library or online, feast on Hestia Come Home, by Jerrilee Cain. One of these mornings, there will be a reading list for our withdrawal from the world at large - more likely several reading lists over several days. Such is the lot of one who spends much of her time with her nose firmly planted in volumes and tomes and folios.

In cultivating the power of enough, we use what we have been given with grace and respect. 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 places in it as the good stewards, artists and creators we were meant to be. The writers mentioned here say it much better than I ever could.

We need to be kinder to each other. We need to tread lightly on the earth. We need to whittle down our demands on a world strained almost beyond its regenerative powers by excess, greed and contempt.

Is the cup of these days at home half empty or half full? It's up to us.

1 comment:

Barbara R. said...

Wonderful food for thought. I am going to look at when enough is enough now. And I'm full of gratitude for what blessings I have.