Some of you regular readers may recall that I like to make up my own words for things. Sometimes I make up new definitions for old words, like Humpty Dumpty in Through the Looking Glass:
“There's glory for you!” “I don't know what you mean by ‘glory.’ ” Alice said. Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don't -- till I tell you. I meant ‘there's a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ” “But ‘glory’ doesn't mean ‘a nice knock-down argument,’ ” Alice objected. “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master -- that's all.”
Sometimes, I make up words for things that I wish to write about, but there simply aren’t any existing words for them. Coincidentally, most of the words I invent, either brand-new ones or those to replace existing ones that I don’t especially like, have to do with weather. Maybe it’s because I write a lot of poetry, but I find that the English language is really under understaffed when it comes to words for weather in general, and poetic words for weather in particular. We’ve all heard that northern aboriginal peoples have many words for snow, doubtless because of where they live, there's a necessity of knowing the precise conditions they’re venturing into at any given time.
One weather event that does seem to have good roster of terms is ‘rain,’ but though English gets points for having good variety, almost nobody agrees on what name goes with what level of precipitation, so we are all kind of left to our own Humpty Dumpty devices on a rainy day. Here, in no particular order of wetness, are some of the choices:
Finally, here is a word I made up replace the pre-existing weather term virga, which is rain you see in the distance that appears to sweep down like fringe, but doesn’t actually make it to the ground. Fringe of rain = frainge. Now, I realize that there is nothing wrong with virga, per se. In fact, it's a fairly common surname. But still, for fringes of rain in the sky, I thought we could do better. Feel free to use it to impress your friends… You: “Oh look at that beeeyootiful frainge over the mountains!” (or wherever you happen to see it). Friend: “Frainge? What’s that? Where?” You: (feeling a bit chuffed) “You’ve never heard of frainge? Let me explain…”
Now, I just need to figure out what it's doing outside at the moment.
The Cloud Messenger (Meghadūta) is a lyric poem by the respected Indian poet, Kālidāsa. The poem centers around a yaksa in exile. Longing for his beloved, waiting for him on a Himalayan mountain, he asks a cloud to take a message to her. The sights he tells the cloud it will see on its way make up most of the poem.
The idea of recording observations appeals to me. I thought The Cloud Messenger was the perfect title for a blog about the journey that we all make as we move through our days.
I'm a baby boomer who grew up dancing in the streets of Detroit during the classic Motown years, lived beside the Rocky Mountains for many years, now retired and living (and writing full time) in S. Ontario. I have one blog for rock 'n' roll oldies, and one for nature, poetry and life along the Lake.