They’re predicting -6° F. by next weekend.
But winter is definitely showing signs of cracking.
The change has begun!
Sure, there’s an icy draft when you open the door, but we’re on the threshold of the next season.
Which is “Mud.”
But also, Puddles.
As we get a few thaws, I’ve been thinking about all these puddles. And dictionaries.
It occurred to me, that “puddle” was one of those words I’d never actually looked up. You just seemed to know what it was, at a very early age, and know instinctually that it was something to jump into, no matter what the grown-ups said, or whether or not you were wearing boots, or were on your way to visit someone, whose house had white wool carpets.
My parents always encouraged us to look up words, and when we were in grade school, plunked a Webster’s down in the middle of the kitchen table. And looking up this word, reminded me of grade school, homework, and how I dreaded “Oral Presentation Day.”
My teachers were all great – – encouraging, prompting, and doing their best to make it all fun and rewarding. But some days, despite their best efforts, it was like having cheerleaders during root canal surgery. When a kid started off with a dictionary definition, it generally meant you were in for torture.
A kid named Pete usually slogged through an endless recitation about Randy Johnson’s Power Pitching:
. “Webster’s defines “hero” as one who shows great courage, and my hero is Randy The Big Unit Johnson…”
Well kid, you’re pretty brave yourself, reading this out loud for the third time, and Webster’s defines “agony” as listening to a book report, for the third time, on Randy Johnson’s Power Pitching, with a detailed play-by-play of every no-hitter he ever pitched.
noun “A very small pool of usually dirty or muddy water.”
Transitive verb “to make muddy or turbid: MUDDLE.”
Doesn’t those definitions just sound exactly like something your great-aunt would say? The prissy disapproving tone just seeps through, loud & clear.
And then you have to go look up “turbid” since I thought that was a kind of fish, from Iceland, that my grandmother used to make, when she was on one of those “eating healthy” kicks we all dreaded. (Turns out, it was turbot, “Webster’s: a kind of bug-eyed flatfish, best left on the ocean bottom, and not something to bake into fishy jerky, and make kids eat, when they did do their book report, and weren’t the one who left muddy footprints on the kitchen floor.”)
“Muddle” was already familiar, since “muddled” was one of the top ten criticisms I always got on my essays. Come to think of it, in college, I also got “turbid” a few times.
Wikipedia has “a small accumulation of liquid…pooling in a depression…”
OK, you see what I mean? Doesn’t “pooling in a depression” sound like sad grade-schoolers, slogging slowly toward their doom, assembling in a damp pool of misery for oral presentation day?? Puddles are such fun, sure they’re pools of a sort, but there’s nothing depressing about them, while this whole dictionary thing was a very unpleasant experience, lots of horrible memories, bad fish, red ink, talking in public.
Better to reflect upon puddles, and, however muddy, how much undiluted fun they are. And I think I can assert, after in-depth experimentation, without fear of contradiction, that lightly iced puddles are the best for stepping on. Like shattering glass windows without losing your allowance. The whole puddle experience is kind of great.
There, The End. I’m grading this one “Clear As Mud, See Me After Class.”