Pomegranate in black and white
Words amaze me.
Often when standing in the supermarket queue , I listen to conversations around me. Because I live in South Africa with 11 official languages it is inevitable that I would not always understand the conversation.
If I listen long enough and allow the words to swirl around me filling my consciousness with sound, it becomes music. It has phrases and intonations. It has soft sounds speaking of tenderness and love. It has playful sounds telling a story of people who know one another well enough to tease and laugh together. It has dark harsh sounds warning of danger and anger. It has melancholy sounds expressing sadness and loss.
Sounds like an orchestral symphony?
Yes and if I listen long enough some of the blah blah will become meaningful and then it is called words.
Sometimes as I try to write about life, I can’t find the words to express how I feel. Then I read the post by Botteldworder, Simple Word Love and realised releasing the words flying around in my mind and emotions is to allow them to live.
How often do we not keep our words expressing how we feel captive, allowing them to die and become noxious matter in our minds untill that day when they break out of the cage and cause havoc in our own and the lives of others. Maybe I release the words and feelings today and it sounds like blah blah to another, but one day, maybe one day, it will gain meaning and become words bringing healing or joy or sadness to the reader.
Even if no one reads my words,even if it is just blah blah to others, it sets me free to watch the words fly away taking my thoughts and feelings with them.
I look around me and see fresh young faces. No grey hair, no wrinkles, only eager to learn and experience life faces.
One however is different. This one face has many silver highlights in her hair and lots of wrinkles telling a story of a life lived for a long time. A face that knows the tomorrows are less than the yesterdays. A face showing determination to live the tomorrows still to come to the full.
That face belongs to me and I find myself amongst all the youngsters in a a French language class.
The class starts and to my shock the lecturer fires rapid French with large expressive gestures, strange inflections, many nasal sounds and the all important gutteral R sound at the class.Then he looks at us expectantly wanting answers from us.
Thus the first rule of the class is established: No English allowed.
The philosophy being that learning a language starts by understanding first and then speaking. As a speech language therapist this makes a lot of sense to me, but being on the receiving side is a whole different ball game. For the first time I now understand why a person who is on the Autism spectrum once said people talking, sounds to him like just a lot of blah blah blah.
After three hours in the class , the blah blah become a bit less and the meaning of some words and sounds begins to find a place in my consciousness. In the course of the morning my name is frenchified and I become MaRtiè. We learn greeting and presenting ourselves and had to repeat the same words and phrases many times.
The lecturer reminded us that French originates from Latin and therefore needs big mouth movements and expressive gestures and facial expressions to accompany the language. Polite and softly spoken English has no place in this class, be loud , be expressive shrug your shoulders wave your hands. In short embrace the French culture to truly learn the language.
I went home feeling totally exhausted. After all it had been many years since I had to learn a completely new skill.
How do I feel about my new venture in to learning. I don’t really know, maybe so so for now .
But I will keep on learning and join the one older student who told me:” Don’t worry us oldies stick it out.”
As the French say: Comme Çi Comme Ça !
Illustrations by Natalie Nourigat http://www.natalienourigat.com
Two very different pictures of metal, both used to open or close an entrance to somewhere.
According to lengend, these sharp copper spikes on a door in Zanzibar served the purpose of keeping elephants at bay. Today it serves as decoration on this beautiful carved door.
An old rusted wrought iron gate on a farm near Clarens in the Free State
Zig Zag means: A line or course that proceeds by sharp turns in alternating directions.