Can you call your sorrows “a bounty of sadness” and feel richer for them, instead of burdened? Connie Sobchak explores the power of words and lark song

While sitting in a ditch off Highway 99 just outside of Lillooet I got to musing on the qualities of the meadow lark song. I was in the ditch because we had an hour or two to wait before the road reopened and we had decided to use the wait time to take some photos.


The meadow larks had lured us down an embankment with that crystal clear flutelike call that can penetrate a vehicle travelling at highway speeds. This song makes it easy to understand why a flock of larks is poetically referred to as an exaltation of larks.
There are all sorts of poetic collective nouns for birds and most of these nouns convey how people feel about the birds in question:

-a murder of crows
-a plump of geese
-an ostentation of peacocks
-a siege of herons
-a parliament of owls
-a bouquet of hummingbirds

These names add a touch of the exotic to the mundane so it seems fitting that we could do the same with the ordinary, perhaps even reviled aspects of our day to day lives-add a touch of poetry. And while we’re at it, how about choosing words with positive connotations? Consider these:
-a pride of wrinkles*
-a prosperity of aches
-an opulence of worries
-an affluence of love handles
-a bounty of sadness
-a pluck of anxiety

Not to suggest that the debilities from which we suffer can magically be scoured away but words do matter. CS Lewis said, “You can make anything by writing.” Maybe we can make ourselves a little happier just by choosing different words.

* a garland of trials to my friend for this description.

Photo by Gary Sobchak

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