World of Words


Be careful what you say, said the sage. Your ears can hear you.

Some days seem like they’re full of nothing but nouns, don’t they, standing mute like trees. Those days go house, street, city, climate, government, airplane, waterfall, rebels, president, tricycle, track, refrigerator, computer, fan, toaster, cell phone, clock – always clock, almost a verb – cell phone again, texts, ears, refrigerator again, television, toilet paper, car, street, stop sign, traffic, left turn, parking lot, door, menu, receipt, pager, clock again, lunch, silverware, strategy, office, light switch, inbox. On such noun days we navigate more or less peacefully, seemingly without extreme amounts of danger on the downside, or potential on the up. They seem like filler days, if such a heretic term is allowed.

Run, make, do, plan – we recognize another kind of day immediately as a verb day, of course – think, work, play, walk, run again, spin, hurry – always hurry – catch, talk, write, stop writing, write some more, text, call, talk, plan, make, carry, look, take, go, turn, walk, run some more, stop, park, enter, edit, see, wonder, look again, wonder some more, walk, drive, return, maybe regret, maybe worry, check the time, run some more, retrieve, love. Be, if you have time; there seems to be less air available to breathe on verb days. Perhaps it’s the rush of the wind – which is air, isn’t it.

Adverb days, for their part, are chock-a-block full of either/or. Powerfully and weakly, surely and uncertainly, elegantly and rustically, efficiently and wastefully, uniquely and commonly, fondly and contemptuously, thoughtfully and negligently, aggressively and gently, angrily and lovingly, fearfully and boldly. Intelligently and stupidly. Brightly, dimly, darkly, hopefully, brilliantly, dully, kindly, harshly, eternally, moderately, excessively. On such days we make choices about self and others. On those days and in those choices we have the opportunity to show kindness and wisdom, even if we feel we don’t possess them.

More often these days aren’t days at all, but are just phases of days, instants even, all happening where the present moment cuts time into little zeros and ones. And when they appear, it’s good that we recognize such instants for what they are. The noun moment that seems like filler, like an ancient obstacle course set up to confound us by some long-dead alien civilization; the verb moment that can snatch our breath away, running to catch a train that seems not necessarily to know where it’s heading; the adverb moments that benignly or treacherously teach us the precaution that with our words we create our world. It is so: With our words we lay the tracks upon which the long train of our life will run – there and only there can it go, and it is folly to think it might go elsewhere. There are no wistful poems, are there, or songs about “whither goeth the train?” No. The train of our life goes where we ourselves choose to lay the tracks.

That as we might know happens through our free choice of what we think. High in the flying bridge of our minds we form our thoughts, fusing thought’s ether with the steely fixedness of nouns, verbs, and their ilk. And with equally solid certainty, as we utter words, for that day, for that moment, forever, a segment of the tracks upon which the train of our life will run are laid. Our ears have heard the Pronouncement of the Words and have created our life – moment by moment, day by day, epoch by epoch. And as in a western painting, the tracks they lay appear to come together on the horizon, disappearing to who-knows-where.

But clearly it is we who know where. What a brilliant possibility of hope that our ears are listening, ready to do our bidding. With our words, we create our world.