As a bit of a word geek (I’m only admitting to “a bit”), one thing which continues to interest me is the power of words to evoke.
These odd characters on a word or a screen, can – when grouped together correctly – create thoughts or feelings which transport us to times or places entirely apart from our current reality.
It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. – Charles Dickens.
Without wanting to go on about how crazy the weather has been in the UK in the past couple of weeks, I can’t help but focus on the delight I feel on those mornings when it truly feels like spring has begun. You know the kind I mean, bright and crisp… There’s a real chill in the air still, but the sun is brilliant and promising warmth as the day progresses. Green shoots are appearing, and the braver blooms – the snowdrops and crocuses – have already pushed their heads out of their covers.
So, my post today is a frivolous fancy. An opportunity for me to concentrate on the power of words to transport you – by focusing on my favourite season and thinking about the words which evoke spring to me.
A word which encompasses so many positive things.
The flowers which bud and then bloom, bringing beauty to the starkness of winter trees and promising fruit to come. Of course, blossom is also the verb which describes this act of producing flowers. An act which – even in towns and cities where nature can be hard to find – is our promise that the seasons are changing.
That the word blossom also applies away from horticulture, to describe growth in careers, friendships, learning and love, shows its real power.
The simple noun, descriptive of a delicate flower, indicates growth and positivity in nature, in people and communities. It is a symbol of the amazing possibilities that a fragile start can ultimately build.
That’s a powerful word right there.
Oxforddictionaries.com defines crisp, in terms of weather, as “cool, fresh, and invigorating.” Words which encompass spring in my view.
- Cool, instead of the cold of winter.
- Fresh with winds, and a sense of newness.
- Invigorating, there’s an excitement and apprehension as we look ahead to the year which is opening up as winter passes.
The word itself has the satisfying sense which comes with onomatopoeia. It makes me think of the freshness of crisp green apples – but maybe that’s just me – and seems to suggest a sparkling newness which makes me want to smile.
For me, the sense of abundance in spring is threefold.
Within weeks we (in the UK) are taken from bare earth and trees to lush greens, pale blue skies, and shots of colour throughout nature. These signs may be less accessible in some areas but there is evidence of growth on most streets, and colours spreading throughout our pockets of the world.
My second example of abundance may be more obvious in the countryside around where I live, but for others the evidence is seen on Springwatch and Easter cards. Newborn lambs and rabbits appear in the fields, birth and nurture being celebrated in nature as well as our homes as we celebrate Mother’s Day.
Having mentioned birth, I must also mention eggs – but it’s not just the chicks I’m talking about here – it’s chocolate. With spring comes Easter, a celebration of rebirth for those in the church, and a celebration of chocolate in more secular circles. I don’t know about you but in our house, we’ve been known to have such abundance at Easter that the chocolate has lasted until summer.
Puddle says splash, it says mud, it says fun (maybe I’m too close to the kids Peppa Pig years). Puddle says ‘yes it’s rainy, but we’re going to enjoy it!’ [I’m writing this at my desk, in the (relative) warmth and looking out at the rain, very aware I’d not be so poetic about puddles if I’d just walked home with a hole in my shoe.]
For today at least, puddle means earth and rain and smells of a clean world. The giggling of kids splashing and brightly coloured umbrellas.
These are words which evoke places and feelings, they show us the power that words have.
Hopefully, you can see that this post isn’t just to get you thinking about the season, the sunshine, or the flowers – although any of those things is fine with me. What I hope is that this will have made you think about language, about words, and the feelings they produce in us.
Sitting here I’ve produced a list of positive words which make me happy; it’s no surprise to anyone I like springtime. But, there are times for all of us, when negative words seem to create far more vivid images; spring can also be muddy, grey, stark.
Why don’t you tell me, which words sum up spring for you?