Sometimes I get so sick of words. I write. Words are my medium. I should not grow weary of that which I use to express myself. I wonder if potters get sick of clay, if painters abhor the canvas, if trail designers ever want to rip up all the topo maps, or if masons want to throw bricks. All I know is that I sometimes feel like I am drowning in words and I just want to swim to shore.

Words are everywhere. Text messages arrive with a simple wish for a happy new year, or directions to a house for a hot meal with friends. On line dating sites use words separated into categories to describe political views, spiritual tendencies, and passions for outdoor activities. A private email expresses what cannot be contained in a check box. When we meet new people, we gather words to learn about past experiences, future hopes, and to talk about our own.  We use words to express what we know, to ask about that which we do not. Words connect us with other human beings. They are wonderfully and uniquely human. I should be grateful for them.

Yet words fall short. They are not adequate to describe the beauty and taste of fresh snow on a dogwood bush. They cannot describe the love I feel when I sit across the table from my daughter, or the laugh I get from my son’s awareness that a lot of butter makes everything better. They disappear when the wind is howling and the sleet is blowing sideways. I cannot use them to explain friendships that have endured over 35 years, the reality of love and death, or how pain and joy can exist as cozy bedfellows in my heart. They don’t replace the feeling of a strong hand in mine, or the envelopment of a hug.

“Is it true, is it kind, and is it necessary?” My New Year’s resolution for 2012 is to be more mindful of this: in my conversations, in my writing, and even in my internal dialogues. I find the first one pretty easy. I’m a lousy liar. Being kind is treating others the way you want to be treated. After 50 years of having the Golden Rule drummed into me, it is not hard to keep this in mind. I’m struggling with the third. So often what I have to say doesn’t really seem all that important. Swirling words get in the way when I look into someone’s eyes. They have no place before the vista of a Montana river valley. A simple touch can express so much more.

Words fail me. They are the sole realm of humans. They connect us, and cause great pain and rifts of separation. Words are not the only tool we have to express emotions and empathy. They fall short in matching the language of the heart. In 2012, I think I need to use less of them.


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3 Responses to Words

  1. mrcarhart says:

    Ms. K,
    You never know how your words are going to affect other people, what vein they will hit, and there is a special beauty in that. You are in a good space if you can say what you want to say, and mean it. I am still thinking about the necessary component of words and will take that with me on my run today. When folks are reading your messages, your words, they often integrate them into their world-view and are engaged in introspection. This makes YOUR words necessary.

  2. geo grader says:

    Sometimes I get so sick of words.
    Words are everywhere,
    Yet words fall short.
    “Is it true, is it kind, and is it necessary?”
    Words fail me.

    There, I took all your first liners leading the charge into the fray of each paragraph, and
    paraded them them up for a military inspection. Standing to attention, chests out, stomachs in! Brian’s right…. Meanwhile, a lot of things are clearly unnecessary, but the Word is more beautiful and reflected by the time you take to commune with it…. OK, wait a minute, I meant to write World…. What is this – some kind of cosmic stoke ?!

    Slather a story an’ joke, and you get stoke!

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