Tuesday, March 03, 2020


One of these words is not like the others. Or is it?

So far I've done prayer, commitment, sanctuary, creativity...dust seems like an unrelated topic.

Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is a funeral, with a bell tolling dolefully and a preacher intoning "ashes to ashes, dust to dust". People think that's Biblical. Not quite: It's from the English Burial Service. Genesis 3:19 does say "...for dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return"

This is why I don't dust, it could be one of my relatives.

As a lover of words, after that association, my first thought is that dust is a contronym, one of those fascinating words in English that can mean opposite things...in this case, to add fine particles or to remove fine particles. The word has an interesting etymology: it goes all the way back to Proto-Indo-European, where dheu meant dust as well as smoke and vapour. (Don't ask me how they can reconstruct a language out of its descendants: that's well above my pay grade.)

After I have exhausted etymologies -- hey, it's one of my quirks and the source of much eye-rolling between Eva and Mark -- I think of Queen's song Another One Bites The Dust, which brings me back to death.

Death. Metereological spring just sprung a couple of days ago, and here I am writing about death.

It's not as strange as it sounds. T.S. Eliot famously called April the cruellest month, but Match isn't far behind, especially when the snow thaws to reveal a dessicated and dreary deathscape. Living in Southern Ontario as I do, I actually don't like spring very much, because it heralds summer. If summer would stay around 20-25 degrees, with no humidity, it'd be just great...but it doesn't. It goes to 30 and beyond with humidity added, such that you're walking through wet gauze.

Death. I am not shying away from it. I'm not afraid of death at all,  Dying, painfully, yes.  Death, to me, is part of life. My body may crumble and turn to dust, but I am not my body. In the total absence of evidence, I still firmly believe that I am not a body, I am a spirit that has a body.

Incidentally,  if you are interested, here are my wishes on everything to do with death.

Closing tune:

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