This is the word that came to me on my dog-led marsh walk today as we headed across the meadow full of autumnal colors. As one strides down the small foot trail and across the field to then walk the perimeter’s bottom, the view is vast, and the meandering river comes into the scene, snaking its way to the sea.
It’s been nearly six months since I’ve written a word for this small blog. Gone so long have I been that when “burnished” showed up, I wondered whether it was the sign of a post, and whether, still, a blog, readers or a writer still existed. Had they all fallen to Internet extinction? Where have I been, where might anyone else be, and what is burnished?
Some readers will know life has thrown a series of pitches our way that have made the family take new stances. I left off last spring with graduations, babies born, re-assignments in public service, medical situations and more marking the undercurrents of “life in all its fullness.” My writing was redirected for months into a 9 page letter intended to arc a 35 year career. A new research project got underway. My mind and heart felt spread everywhere in all directions. No words popped up on the marsh.
When ‘burnished’ did, I found myself pondering and composing, actions hardly recognizable actions! I unearthed a definition, expecting to find it as adjective for fall colors. What you see first, however, is “to polish by friction, to make smooth and bright,” with the noun given as “brightness.”[i] The origin comes a bit closer to encompassing a fall scene: “to make brown.” But pause, and never mind: it’s not the colors I am pondering upon this discovery. I think ‘burnished’ is where I’ve been these long months. Have I been polished by friction and, I hope, made smoother and bright?
And so this small re-entry ends here, where I sit in a familiar seat with fellow commuters, heading for the city on a warm, wet morning. The colors change, yes, and so do we. But in all this at least one truth remains: each day is a small miracle. I’m glad to be back thinking about them, and be able again to make time to write what is easily seen, and what is not.