What’s in a Word?

Is it me or have any of you thought that there are certain words in the English language that are “strange”, “funny” or just downright not right?  At times I will be writing and a word just doesn’t look right.  The thought I am trying to convey I just can’t find the right word for.  It makes me chuckle at myself and the word.  I’m not talking big college words… just normal everyday words.  Not the words that someone uses and you have to look it up because you can’t even begin to fathom what the author is trying to say… no matter in what context it is used.

We have so many descriptive words… I would wage more than just about any other language out there.  Even with these descriptive words that range from describing a touch, feeling, sight or sound… I hear so many times any number of four letter words used instead of any of the thousands of descriptive ones.  Sad… and I must chuckle again.  I find when I am writing I want to sound so sophisticated, so schooled… but why?  Isn’t it enough to describe an incredible sunset as such?  There are so many other words like magnificent, wonderful, marvelous, spectacular, phenomenal, prodigious, breathtaking, extraordinary, unbelievable, amazing, stunning, astounding, astonishing, awe-inspiring, staggering, formidable, impressive, supreme, great, awesome, superhuman, fantastic, terrific, tremendous, stupendous, mind-boggling, mind-blowing, jaw-dropping, out of this world, far out, or wondrous! Who’s ever seen a prodigious sunset? Even with all these words do any really describe the awesomeness of nature?

oxford-english-dictionary-websters-third-new-international-dictionary-e1467149649706How about words like wife? A simple word that describes a person that is married to another but a silly word in my mind. Ass?… a donkey, a part of the body, someone incredibly rude, something to get a “piece of…”, a fool… another funny word.  Did you know that according to the Oxford English Dictionary: there are full entries for 171,476 words in current use, and 47,156 obsolete words. To this may be added around 9,500 derivative words included as sub-entries. How does a word become obsolete? Some claim there are almost a million words in the English language… does this include the “obsolete” ones?

I must admit I used to sit down with one of the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary when I was a kid and read words and meanings so I would know lots of words I would probably never use… sounds like a boring childhood now… oh an when did Mirriam get tacked onto Webster? Is she his wife?!?  Chuckle

Surprise! Digging Deep Into the Curious… A Photo Journey

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We all know… I think… that Alpaca Wool is from these guys. What you may not know is how the wool from these guys is colored so brilliantly and woven into symbols, animals, and the softest, warmest wool. They use everything from bugs and plants, to earthen dyes. Quite a surprise to see this actually happening in a mountain town in Peru.

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Dig deeper into the foothills of Cotacachi, Ecuador… you can see how the bricks to build the homes in the towns are made… by hand!

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Off the beaten path in the Great Basin area of Utah and Nevada… a strange little town pops up out of nowhere. First thought was LSD exists here… or perhaps a government witness protection town?? Strange is a good term…

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Baker, California… on the way back to Utah… flash floods in the desert… BIG SURPRISE!

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If you know where to look… you can find some images from indigenous North Americans another desert surprise…

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Growing Old… What No One Ever Tells You

1934631_1064507425797_7494734_nIn my younger days I was very active. Even earlier I thought I was invincible, as so many do in their teens and twenties. My body was fit and muscular. I was strong and full of energy. Then I hit forty… when did that happen? I found myself like an old car… not too eager to get started on cold mornings, bits and pieces not working quite right. Constant nagging pain in the joints. The things I once was able to do so easily before, now was taking a lot of effort.

As the years go on I feel like some major change is going in my body. I grasp at everything out there to attempt to diminish the constant nagging pain. Herbal supplements, alternative medicine, exercise and finally after 6 years of pain… not being able to do the things I enjoy… I sought major medical attention and surgery.

So here’s where the gist of the story comes into play. Growing up no one ever teaches you about bank accounts, finances, getting a house and what the body does as you get older. The first few things you can figure out by trial and a lot of error. Getting and growing old is not as easy.

14089045_10209635286791852_8714905202713412984_nI believe that nobody wants to talk about it much because it is down right depressing. When I could no longer go hiking without two knee braces, row my raft or fly fish without shoulder pain, I found myself getting frustrated.  Soon after I found I lacked the motivation to do the things I love… but forced myself to do them and paid for it for weeks on end. I tried shots of this and that, I tried going chemical free, and physical therapy.  It always came down to just grin and bear it. Then the doc says…”you’re just getting old!”  Those are the worst words anyone can ever hear. It’s almost like a death sentence. This is how it is and it’s not going to get any better. REALLY??!!

I, however, will not just throw up my hands and succumb to “getting old”! I am always looking for the silver lining. This is the driving force for us to quit our job, sell everything and hit the road… before it’s “too late…” There is enough research out there that shows stress is a contributing factor to shortening your life. Pain is a cause of stress too. My hope is by alleviating that stress in my life, eating better food without chemicals, laughing instead of wanting to kill someone or something all the time, be able to be active on a daily basis instead of weather and pain permitting… I may be able to grow old gracefully and in less pain.

Lets face it there is no manual on life. No “How to Live for Dummies”. We all blindly go where each man/woman must go… and go alone. It’s just sad that the mind is willing but the body says… no I don’t think so. This too shall pass and I will overcome this temporary limitation… I hope…

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The Deepest Scar

In all my travels I have seen the good and the bad. A common thread in most indigenous cultures is the reverence for Mother Earth. It’s not hard to see why.  These people depend on the bounty of the Earth for substinance. They rise up against their government when the government takes money over the sacred to build hydro-dams, cut down forests, strip mine, fracking, bartering land for oil production… the list goes on.

I have heard stories of the people rising up to stop dams on some of the most beautiful rivers in South America, Central America, and the US. There is a constant battle to heal Mother Earth rather than ravaging her further. A battle to restore the deep scars generations before have inflicted. To stop damaging oil production in the sacred lands of the deserts, oceans and mountains. Protests against the development of lands held sacred by the indigenous people, who themselves have been set aside on lands thought useless, and now find those same “useless” lands are not only full of mysticism and history, but oil, minerals, or some other perceived riches.

It is time to stop! It is time to look at the signs that are “in our faces” and reverse our global destruction and instead take a stand to help the Mother.  It’s time to join the connected people and heed their warnings. Mother Earth will continue to react to the poison, disrespect and abuse. Floods, fires, earthquakes, destructive weather and drought are all her attempt to get our attention… the problem is the powers that be… the big production companies don’t care about anything but the all mighty dollar.

Personally I feel helpless. Together we can have a voice. Together we may be able to effect a change. Corporations with deep pockets will still be able to sway politicians to give away these sacred lands. Would we be willing to lay down our lives, give up our freedom, to stand up against “the Man”? Would we be willing to stand hand in hand with those entrusted to protect the Mother? Would we be willing to take a minute to sign a petition to have our voices heard? We are not the ones who are helpless. Our world… Mother Earth… Pachamama .. however you call her is the one who is helpless. We must commit to heal… no longer ravage and destroy our “home”

Passport to The Past

I remember my first BIG trip out of the USA… back in September of 1985. I was an impetuous youth and felt invincible. I saw a NATGEO show that was exploring ancient castles of the UK. I remember that every castle and little hamlet they visited I saw young “hippie types” with huge backpacks milling about.

My life at the time was in a bit of unrest.  I was looking for something… but wasn’t sure what.  I made some trips to the library… no the internet wasn’t as available as it is now… I figured out how to get a passport, sold a few more bracelets and tie-dyes, saved my pennies, and bought a Euro-rail ticket for western Europe. I went to the army surplus store and bought a down sleeping bag, canteen and a few other items, and practiced packing until everything was just right.  I bought a Fodders traveler book for Europe, plane ticket and a week later I was off.

I arrived at Heathrow Airport and was welcome with a strip search by immigration agent… welcome to the UK.

Unfortunately my memory of the trip is limited to a few “highlights”.  I spent about a week in the UK and wandered through the streets of London, explored Glasgow castles and cathedrals, Aberdeene’s gardens, museums, and castles.  The highlight was the hike and hitch hiking to Stonehenge, and the drumming circle I joined one night.

I had to go to France, but unfortunately they didn’t like Americans back then and the visit was brief and I was off to Switzerland by train with the next stop Germany!

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I had to see the Berlin Wall of course, and I can tell you the history was everywhere in the old world cities. The people were friendly, the countrysides were gorgeous, it rained a lot and they have a lot of potato farms. I remember getting off the train on late afternoon, heading for a little B&B in a little old world town. There was a path through a potato farm I was told by another backpacker at the station.  It was about dusk when I could see the lights from the little town but the fog started rolling in.  It blanketed the ground about up to my knees and my mind began to race… American Werewolf in London!  I began to pick up the pace and arrived just as it got dark.  I was offered a warm, dark beer by the Inn keeper and calmed my frazzled nerves and had a laugh with some other guests about my :close encounter… in my mind and imagination… with the werewolf…

The next day I took stock of my dwindling supplies… including my last $20! I had three days to go and was gonna STARVE!!  I spent the morning and most of the afternoon wandering around the countryside, trying to devise a plan to make some money FAST!  I knew it wasn’t gonna happen in this little farming town so I hiked to the next train station and headed for Frankfurt.

I arrived in Frankfurt and after some good advice received from a fellow traveler… I proceeded to a popular bar for my last meal of Bangers and Mash.  I sat at the bar and asked the bar keep for some advice on getting a short term temporary job.  I explained my situation and he said he’d see if he could help. A finely dressed gentleman came up and sat next to me at the bar and ordered me a stein of beer and proceeded to “interview” me. He said he was the manager of a huge, expensive hotel in town and they had a few employees call in sick. He told me he’d give me $500 USD if I would do what ever he needed for 12 hours… the evening and night shift. We shook and I told him he had a deal… short of sex!  We laughed and he took me to the hotel, got me a uniform and a shower… I washed dishes, took people luggage to their rooms, room service and more dishes.  It was a long 12 hours with a guy who had a thick accent and didn’t speak very good English but could point very well.  I finished my shift, thanked the manager and was off to the train station again.

I spent the next two days visiting Belgium and The Netherlands and then back to London.

This was a once in a lifetime trip and it was the one that whet my whistle for travel.

 

 

Daily Prompt:Passport