While contemplating cleaning out the library, I came across a stack of discolored paper held together with a rusting paper clip. Memory surged. The paper was from a calendar from the time of long long ago. One of those page-a-day things.
At first I thought the pages belonged to a Sniglets calendar. Remember Sniglets? They were a Rich Hall bit on HBO’s Not Necessarily the News.
I’d explain them, but Hall does it better in this grainy clip from the 1980s.
Now that you’re excited about Sniglets, let me dash your hopes and dreams by telling you the pages were not from a Sniglet calendar. I know I had one and saved pages from it, but the ancient paper I found did not contain sniglets.
Nope, they contained words I found interesting in a word-of-the-day calendar. I wanted to remember these words some reason. Sadly, I cut the date off of the page so I have no idea when these words were important to me. But let’s take a look at the words in ascending order of what I like today, shall we?
Widdershins – adv. in a left-handed, wrong or contrary direction. In a traditional witch dance, the men of the coven circumabulated widdershins a total of nine times. Kudos to the calendar people for tossing “circumabulated” into the example sentence. You have to love a dictionary that wants to you to look more stuff up.
Kairos – n. an opportune or critical moment. Lincoln’s epochal Gettysburg Address makes it clear that Americans even then viewed the war between the states as a kairos in the nation’s history. I’d like to think I could drop “kairos” into conversation more often, but are there that many situations it would apply to?
Tristful – adj. affected with or expressing sadness: melancholy. The play is a tristful look at two lonely souls looking for love and just missing their one opportunity to connect. Sigh.
Alpenglow – n. a reddish glow seen near sunset or sunrise on the summits of mountains. The solemn majesty of the mountains is conveyed in a photograph of a lone climber silhouetted against the evening sky and suffused in alpenglow. To me, this word just summons a mood, perhaps a slightly tristful mood.
Spoondrift – n. spray blown from waves during a gale at sea. Soaked with spoondrift, the pair of weekend sailors struggled to navigate their sloop through the wine-dark swells. I absolutely love this word. It doesn’t just describe something; it conveys romance and adventure.