I find joy in words. Attempts to pull up the most precise word to describe a situation, engages my brain. You know, famished rather than hungry-which, it seems, is often the case for me, sigh. I find entertainment watching new words join the dictionary (conlang, an invented language, and face-palm, to cover one’s face with the hand when embarrassed) to name a few. (Click here for more newly added words.) 2015 was a surprise when the Oxford Dictionary publishers announced the word of the year wasn’t a word at all, it was the tears of joy emoji. I didn’t have a word to describe how I felt about this announcement. Maybe I didn’t need a word to describe the word of the year since it wasn’t a word at all, or whatever! Words fail me, time and time again.
Again, lack of a precise word or words was glaring on a holiday in Scotland. How do you describe such a XYZ country? Replace XYZ with any synonym for beautiful. Here, I’ll help: glorious, breath-taking, awesome, magical, majestic, moody, inviting, pleasant, green, pink, blue…The list continues, but there isn’t a way to wrap it up with one exact word. Karen, my dear friend and travel-mate on this trip decided to describe Scotland in colors.
When I reflected back on Scotland’s colors, I kept seeing colored-pencils representing the prominent landscape features.
Here’s our color-attempt-
Green: hills, mountains, grass, meadows, numerous shades, everywhere
Yellow: the sun would often highlight one specific area where we were to focus
Gray: rocks, granite, mountains everywhere. Scotland has ancient volcanoes!
Pink: wildflowers galore
Blue: lochs, ocean, firths, rivers, and sometimes water shooting out from the side of a hill and of course, the sky
White: enormous billowy clouds and sheep who wander the one-lane roads
“Non-pictures” became my invented word for the hundreds of pictures I took. These pictures simply don’t do justice to the landscape. So, non-pictures. Not one captures the gloriousness, magic, majesty, or moodiness.
Research by nature writer Robert Macfarlane sadly discovered the Oxford Junior Dictionary publishers removed words no longer pertinent to our kids. Farewell to words such as dandelion, fern, acorn, ash, mistletoe, willow, ivy, lark, and pasture. Not wanting holes in the dictionary – chatroom, cut-and-paste, and a few other tech related words were welcomed in. No! We can’t remove nature related words. There already aren’t a sufficient amount for us to pull from.
For now, I’ve captures the images in my mind’s eye and of course in my heart! If you’re looking for an XYZ (insert any word for beautiful here) destination, perhaps you hear Scotland calling.
P.S. If you know me, you know of my love for Ireland which has not been diminished by a Scottish holiday. Wherever Scotland is written here, I can most certainly insert Ireland. In fairness, Sunshinewithwaves was born well after I left a big piece of my heart in Ireland.
To ponder…What are some places you have in your mind’s eye that can’t be captured on film (okay, your iPhone) or with our language?