Tuesday, November 17, 2009

On The Strand

-verb  (without object)
1. to drive or leave aground or ashore
2. to be left in a difficult situation

3.  the land bordering the sea, a lake, or a river; shore; beach.
4.  the strands of a plot.
5.  a tress of hair
6.  a string of pearls, beads, etc.

-verb (with object)
7.  to form by twisting strands together.
8. to break one or more strands of 

This is the word of the day.  I'm reading a book called Literary London to prepare for my fabulous DIS class and trip of the same name.  Those who know me know already that I paged to the index immediately to look up every bit of Sherlock Holmes history to be found on the streets of London.

"The Strand" is a geographic location inside the city, but moreover it was the name of the literary magazine that published Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories in regular installments.

Anyway, this got me thinking about the word "strand" and how it is very possibly my favorite word in all of the English dictionary.  What other words can mean such a variety of (at first glance) completely unrelated things?  We could be talking about a beach, baseball, a shipwreck, a missed bus, a necklace, a magazine, a street.  I love this crazy language.

We could be talking about wandering foreign countries alone and four inches of chopped-off hair.  The way the strands sit unevenly around my ears now and how there is no place you can go where you won't be.  Stranded with oneself.

If this sounds morbid, I promise it's not.  The hardest thing I've learned is that going somewhere else isn't in and of itself the exciting thing.  It doesn't change you if you don't want to be changed and it doesn't put broken things back together.  Someone who's been everywhere isn't a better or happier person than someone who lives in the same zip code where they were born.

You can be dazed by the strangeness for a little while, but traveling and living far away from home doesn't get you any farther away from yourself.  That's okay.  It's just a rather grown-up realization.

Copenhagen is situated on an island, Zealand, surrounded by water on all sides.  On this strand I have stranded myself, cut the strands of my hair, and stranded the strands to form a strand of pearls.  Or, at the least, found a few glass beads.

1 comment:

  1. And what's more...there's even a chaotic bookstore called The Strand in NYC. The plot thickens.
    I agree that going somewhere new will not necessarily "improve" you, we all grow at our own rates and when we least expect it.
    I liked this blog, I can see more of your writing style. xo