Goby’s Journal, Words are more than what they name

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9/20/11
Wednesday Rain. Light rain. Barely noticeable as rain. But one sees the sidewalks are water stained. The rain has altered their color. We look at them and say, they are wet, & others will know what we mean. They will be able, if they wish, to picture wet sidewalks. Wet Concrete or brick or paving stone or asphalt—picture this in mind, or perhaps the feel underfoot if you are a child & barefoot, or very poor and have no shoes, or the soles are worn through & your socks and feet are wet so what those words call to mind is not the fact of rain which your body feels and is all too real without words, but rather what you think of are warm dry socks & warm dry feet, and isn’t there a kind of rule to be seen in this, a rule first of all of mind, & then of words—that we apply mind and words not to what is immediately before us—this dull gray light, these wet sidewalks, wet streets, light rain—but to what is absent, to what is brought to mind because it’s beyond us, thinking on the coldest day only of how to stay warm, or in the hottest summer afternoon we remember the mild spring breeze, long for brisk autumn afternoons—and even now, among dry stalks of corn or walking over cracked earth weeks or months into a killing drought—this very rain, the sound & feel of it—will waken the parched thoughts of those thirsting for all they want & need & do not have.

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