Wanderlust

There was a moment in time, however brief, when this blog was almost called “the Wander Guy” wherein I wrote about wandering through the world and between those adventures got distracted by taking pictures, cooking great food and other things… rather than, y’know, the other way around.

wawn - derr - luhst

The yearning and all-consuming desire to walk and travel about, see the world, and explore the universe.

There are many languages from which we English-speakers borrow concepts. Many of the ones I am familiar with are derived from German origins.

When I was about twenty years younger I took some German language courses to fill my evenings. One root of my family tree traces back a couple hundred years and multiple generations to some soil in that particular area of Europe. I was one of those guys who, in his twenties, started digging around those roots and trying to find some cultural branches through which I could climb and explore. This all resulted in an opportunity to travel about through Germany for a few weeks while those lessons were still fresh in my head. I have some very distinct memories of time spent wandering through Berlin, Munich, and other various small towns, learning and immersing, seeking some connection and grounding… but mostly eating currywurst and drinking lots of beer.

Words like wanderlust are among those perfectly distilled concept words derived from another language that we haven’t bothered to replace it with something other.

I’m glad for that.

Being struck by a lingering case of wanderlust that has gripped around my heart for now most of my life, and finding some vague-and-fuzzy connection to a fragile root of my own personal history, I feel like I can slot this word into my own vocabulary in a purposeful way.

There is a bit of me that often aspires to be more of a “wander guy” and nurture the wanderlust that lurks behind that. To travel. To explore. To put on a trusty hat and good shoes. To find a trail, sidewalk, cobbled road, or dusty route. To wander away from home, far and wide, and cure the longing behind that.

Edmowood

Community spirit comes in many different shapes and sizes.

Sometimes it comes in the shape and size of a larger-than-life travelling sign that shows up mysteriously in parks around the city.

ED - mō - wo͝od

A nonsense name and (I assume) a portmanteau of the name of our city “Edmonton” and the name of a much more famous city “Hollywood” erected as an homage to the famous landmark of the latter. Mystery. Puzzle. Social media treasure hunt. Spirit-boosting community game. Who knows which for sure.

I was driving my daughter to school this morning and looking off to the side of the freeway into a familiar park through which I’ve run and hiked countless times, the increasingly-famous rogue art display stood tall in the brown spring grass.

On my way back home I made a point of pulling off the road, driving down the access road, parking, and walking the hundred meters into the empty park to snap a couple photos.

On this wordy Wednesday, someone else had done my work for me and provided a word they thought could brighten a gloomy day and bring a little joy to a city in pandemic lockdown.

I’d say they succeeded.

That’s one powerful random nonsense word I’d never heard of until about 730 this morning.

Season

Three months into writing daily missives here on this blog and it occurred to me that there is one particular word woven through my stories to which I have not given much thought. It is a word with multiple, distinct meanings, and that fact should have been obvious for a guy who writes about the outdoors, cooking, and cast iron cookware.

SEE - zunn

Simply, to flavour or preserve food with salt and spices.

Or… simply, to ready a cooking surface through the application of heat and oils.

Or… simply, the delineation of winter from spring, spring from summer, summer from autumn, and autumn back into winter.

Maybe not so simple?

The etymology of the word season seems to come from the Latin satio, which is itself entwined in the word to sow, or to make something ready.

One readies food to be eaten or a pan to be cooked upon.

Nature readies the world to grow, blossom, produce, and come to life …and then resets itself to make ready all over the next year.

Seasoning is an act of maturation and preparation.

It is purposeful conditioning.

To season is to make something richer and more ready.

These concepts strung together clearly form a broader theme for the things I’ve been thinking about and writing about and sharing here. Three months in, ninety disconnected posts, and some forty thousand words spent has distilled down to one not so simple word: season.

To season. To be seasoned. To welcome the changing seasons. To ready the heart and mind. To sow a space for good food in one’s home. To mellow the harsh cold iron of a skillet against the delicate organic surface of food. To flavour life as one ages one’s mind and soul against the cyclical reset of the universe. To season.

Sundog

The horizon-hugging sun of autumn and spring passing through the crisp, frosty air often whistles to her a pair of trusty companions: sundogs.

SUNN - dawg

Simply, sunlight refracting through ice crystals in the clouds creating a lens or halo effect in the sky.

Listed among my favourite words is sundog.

We had finished our recent Sunday Run and had gathered (socially distantly, of course) in the parking lot to chat and chatter. In the frosty sky to the east the glare of the sunlight through the wisps of clouds highlighted a pair of sundogs punctuating hours of the long spring dawn.

With similar optical physics to how a rainbow appears, I suspect, the photons of light of our sun scatter in a predictable path as they pass through the billions of billions of microscopic ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere. The sky itself acts as though it is a miles-wide prism or lens, and the illusion that meets our eyes is a pair of visible flares approximately twenty-two degrees to the left and the right of the sun itself.

Or more poetically, the sun tracks through these cool spring skies with her sundogs by her side and surveys the world as it thaws beneath our feet.