If you’re like me, you think about idioms and colloquialisms frequently. I like to research their origins and find them nestled in published works, asking whether the usage was clever or lazy.
“speak of the devil”
“the whole nine yards”
“don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater”
“on cloud nine”For my purposes in writing, including in my song lyrics, I try to avoid these forms of expression. They were not created by me and I don’t typically incorporate dialogue which is where you will often find them. Though even with a “conscious effort” it is impossible to fully avoid them. This does not mean that my stream of consciousness resists them and just the other day I felt the strong presence of two such phrases.
We had been traveling around the United States in our trailer for 54 days. Many would label these days a vacation or perhaps 54 days of unemployment. For us these days are filled with effort and will. We rise early, hike, run, write, take photos, cook, clean and are tired at the end of each day. On this evening, the 54th, we were parked on Sunset Beach near Santa Cruz, California. We had just settled into bed, ready for sleep, when a cool breeze came through our open window as if it was shushing us to sleep.
In the quietude of this moment I began to think of the phrase, “the best things in life are free.” It was the smallest happening but it cornered me and I surrendered to it completely. With a simple breeze washing over us in our bed, my mind brightened to the many ways we are fortunate. We have beautiful families who uplift us when we miss home, we are strong and healthy and our future is wonderfully unwritten.
The moment was a gift and it was free.
Not a second after I was safely wrapped in these heartwarming thoughts, the breeze picked up, slamming the window shut and sending the window prop like a joust into the top of my head. Seriously ouch! That too was free and led me immediately to think of the phrase “rude awakening.” See the video below for demonstration:)
I was not mortally wounded however and I soon fell asleep with a sense as equally potent as the elation I previously felt and that was humor. Simple and funny and thankfully moments like these can stand alone if you let them, not lessened by what follows or by what precedes.