More Than Words
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. My favorite time of year, and there’s not much better than an evening cookin’ and bakin’ with the show on in the background, a few windows open, a candle burning on the counter, and the leaves turning on the maple outside the window. And then there’s the sun, doing its beautiful autumn thing out there on the horizon.
I know I use the word “beautiful” often, and I wish there were more words out there. Not that “beautiful” doesn’t cut it, but there aren’t enough words for the beautiful things. We have a boatload of words for the nasty stuff. I mean, really. A person can launch a paragraph-long string of cuss words without much trouble, and there’s no shortage of words to describe a really bad smell. Or the difficulty of a test. Or a mean, crabby person. (Though my son did come up with the word “curmudgeony” the other day. Not bad.)
It’s not for lack of trying, on my part, to find new words to express the beauty of a thing. I’ve looked up and Googled and listened and searched. There’s “exquisite”, “resplendent”, “celestial”, “pulchritudinous.” But I can’t look out at a night sky in October and whisper, “It’s so pulchritudinous.” I can’t. I tried. And then I laughed out loud, and sighed.
And then it struck me. There may not be enough words, but there is another language. The sounds we make — not only in the presence of beauty — but when we are taken with something, when we are in awe, when we are overcome with feeling. The language of sighs, of “oooohhhhhs” and “ahhhhs” during the fireworks, of gasps upon first sight of one’s newly born child, of laughter upon reuniting, even of screams when we are startled. What our minds can’t come up with, our bodies will.
I remember fishing with my father one summer evening when I was a child, watching him pull in an unusually large fish. He glanced at me and I saw his eyes flash blue, and he didn’t say a word. Instead, he whooped, and hollered, and called out, “Woo hoo!” And once he got the fish into the boat, he sat down, smiled, and let out one big, long sigh.
I think it’s like that. More than words, for what makes life alive. Here’s to the turning leaves, and to laughter, and to sighs.
Sometimes I crave squash, and that’s the truth. This recipe goes with everything this time of year, and it’s good for ya, too.
Parmesan Roasted Acorn Squash
1 2-pound acorn squash-halved, seeded & sliced ¾″ thick, leaving skin on
2 T olive oil
8 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 400° F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash with the oil, thyme, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle with the Parmesan. Roast the squash until golden brown and tender, 20-30 minutes. Will depend on your oven.