Of Spider Webs & Goose Down

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is GOSSAMER.

If you’ve taken the time to check out this word over at Merriam-Webster, you’ll find that it has an interesting etymology. Gossamer comes from “goose summer,” a time that would roughly correspond to our Indian Summer. And not because they were flying south, but because they’re at their plumpest for the roasting pan.

Gossomer was also the Middle English word used to describe filmy cobwebs floating through the air in calm clear weather, apparently because somebody thought the webs looked like the down of a goose. If you see them in the early morning on the grass, wet with dew, you could almost think of down.

Today we use it as a rather poetic synonym for thin, light, flimsy, filmy. As in:
The weary travelers sighed for some break in the heat, but the gossamer wisps above offered no relief.

Potluck Offering


robin joins
our impromptu picnic
brings the sushi

🙂

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Messin’ and learnin’…

With the new Block Editor, if you embed
an Inline image, your image can be resized
but not moved independently. Unless you choose to
change the text position — which moves the whole block.

Didn’t Catch it in the Newsroom

Good afternoon everyone — at least that’s where we are at in our day. Thanks to streaming we were able to listen to a church service in Quebec, part of one in Manitoba, and our own here in Sask. Now we have a brilliant blue sky and warm sunshine, the birds are dragging sticks and straws to various nests, and I’d best send out my response to today’s prompt.

Do I dare ask if you’ve tried the new editor? Yesterday I was reading several other bloggers’ thoughts and experiences with this complicated new Block Editor. Not many sweet notes in their song; so far the chorus sounds more like “Aargh…Why! Why!” My own gripe is that I have to go through my post and Justify every single paragraph — one by one — and then I can’t see that it has been done until it’s published. Aargh.

The Ragtag Daily Prompt, contributed by yours truly, is JOURNALIST. Do hop over and check out the links to see what others are posting about this subject. There’s a wide range of interpretations here.

Now, here’s my contribution:

In his book, A Way With Words, ©1979, Canadian newsman Bill Cameron takes a light-hearted look at some of the journalistic bloopers he’s seen in his day and suggests ways writers can clarify their writing. No more, I saw the fox run through the field looking through my binoculars.” 🙂

One thing he mentions is that a reporter should follow an order and always state at the beginning of the story what it’s about. Here’s the opening line of a story once printed in the Regina paper. How did this one sneak past the editor?
“An intricate breeding style, developed through a boyhood hobby, is fast turning into a full-time vocation for a Kantsay district farmer and his wife.”
The reporter does explain a few lines down that said farmer and wife were having great success at breeding and raising some type of livestock, but Mr Cameron thinks that lead-in produced many a chuckle.

Here’s another, from a Saskatoon paper’s editorial of bygone days:
Speaking of expensive frills in modern houses, the writer explains how “dining rooms were once considered necessary because the old-type kitchen was not suitable for eating.

Don’t panic, dear readers. I haven’t heard of any Canadians who actually tried to eat their kitchen.

Mr Cameron stresses that every writer “should look over everything they write with the most critical eye they can muster. Read it over. Read it out loud. Better, have a friend read it over to you.”

After all, to air is human — and your Spell checker will miss a few, too.

He admits that sometimes they get a great lead to an article and can’t use it because it would be in such poor taste. For example, When J Edgar Hoover died, a fellow editor in the newsroom suggested as a lead to the obituary, ‘The death of J Edgar Hoover has left at vacuum at the FBI’. It gave them a quick chuckle, but they knew it wouldn’t be well accepted.

Do you think journalists and editors in our day ever reject a story because it’s in poor taste?

Twilight Settles

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was SETTLE and it’s taken me awhile to settle down and respond to it. Actually, for my response I’m going to publish a poem by Canadian poet Archibald Lampman.

EVENING

From upland slopes I see the cows file by,
Lowing, great-chested,
down the homeward trail,
By dusking fields and meadows shining pale
With moon-tipped dandelions. Flickering high,
A peevish night-hawk in the western sky
Beats up into the lucent solitudes,
Or drops with gliding wing. The stilly woods
Grow dark and deep, and gloom mysteriously.
Cool night winds creep
and whisper in mine ear.
The homely cricket gossips at my feet.
From far-off pools and wastes of reeds I hear,
Clear and soft-piped, the chanting frogs break sweet
In full Pandean chorus. One by one
Shine out the stars
and the great night comes on.

I’m slowly getting used to the new editor. Some features I really like — one of them being the wide color range I can use for my type. Another is this Subscript. I sometimes tried using the tiniest font in the Classic editor, but it didn’t seem to make much difference to the size — not like this.

Cowcatcher Persona

The Word of the Day over at Merriam-Webster is an old-fashioned one I haven’t heard for years. A COWCATCHER is an inclined frame on the front of a railroad locomotive for throwing obstacles off the track. Since cows no longer wander about freely, I suppose locomotive makers no longer see the need of adding one.

Just for fun I decided to re-purpose this word for our day and created this verse:

Your words hurt,
I try to explain.
I feel the sting;
see the pain in their faces.
But his cowcatcher persona
tosses my words to the winds
and plows on.

Promise

Ragtag Daily Prompt: THE BLUES

We had a good soaker last night; I looked out at 2 am when the storm was at its worst, flashing, crashing, and roaring overhead, and saw the rain coming down in sheets. This morning a tub left outside has over an inch of rain in the bottom.

So no more singing the dryland blues here. Rather, since I was awake in the night, I jotted down this haiku as it came to me.
Lexico supplies this definition for PETRICHOR: A pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather.

rain in the night
the petrichor a promise
of golden grain

I had lots of opportunity to ponder life, love, and the path of tornadoes while the storm was making such a racket and debouching over our heads. Thoughts like: If a tornado hit our home, which of our belongings would we miss the most? And, Why didn’t I put my laptop away in its case, where it would be more protected? Irrelevant thoughts, perhaps, but what other kind do you have at that hour?

This morning’s Word of the Day Challenge: FORGOTTEN

I remembered all the scribbled verses on scraps of paper floating around my computer desk. They’d be lost in the storm and the brilliant thoughts (?) forever forgotten! Rather than giving in to the blues at 2:30 am, I resolved again to get the worthwhile ones typed in and saved in DropBox.

Not a new thought. When I jot an idea down, I have every intention of dealing with it promptly. However, like clean laundry waiting to be folded and put away, they tend to pile up on my desk, awaiting processing.