a new blog on the block

local dialect is my friend karen's new blog, and i'm so pleased that she started it. its focus is, as she puts it, on "the beauty and the sometimes quirky details of place." she and i both live in the same town, but in reading her patient and vivid observations about petaluma, i realize i tend to take the town i live in much for granted. were i to read about petaluma through her eyes while i inhabited some other city, i'd want to move to petaluma right away. but i know it's the "habit" in inhabit that makes everywhere you don't live seem more alive and exciting. thanks to karen i'm seeing it again as the treasure that it is. i've decided to start a series of photos tracking the progress of this new awareness. this is the first one.

karen's most recent post pertains to the french class we both attend on thursday mornings; her response to the word "pique-nique," which we learned yesterday was an ancient word. as modern as it sounds, its roots go all the way back to the etruscans: pique as something picked at, nique as a little thing without value, to stand for things brought along on an excursion, and eaten with the fingers.

our lesson yesterday began with words for different sensations of taste: spicy, hot, peppery, salty. this led us to piquant, and a more involved discussion of flavor: amer, acide, aigre, apre. bitter, acidic, sour, acrid, each distinct.
and led us to pique, and the picnic, the eating we do in the open air. later in the lesson somehow, we came around full circle. laure reminded us that the stratosphere keeps all earth's air contained, therefore we are all breathing each other's air and the air breathed by people who lived thousands of years ago. the first picnickers in what seemed like their separate spheres. we're breathing their air and using their words.

"comment en sommes-nous venues ici?" asked laure. how did we get here? how did we come around to this. language is a form of travel, of public transportation. if you are the one doing the pedaling, you say "a bicyclette." if you're riding on the back of someone else's bicycle, you say "en bicyclette." if you go by train, by the conveyance of something much larger than you and you are not involved in making it go, you say "par."

by. on. in.
laure says, "the preposition is such a misunderstood and neglected little thing."

she says this kind of delightful thing all the time.

1 comment:

K said...

How nice! And I love the carnival photos!! Everyone's experience of where they are is so beautiful.