The Power of a Word

I am intrigued by the way in which words have the power to invoke memories.

My word of the moment is serendipity. I never use it, or hardly ever, but it still recalls both beauty and sadness from a moment when it was used. We had decided to take a horse-ride in the Bunya Mountains in Queensland, Australia and set out with Nev, our guide for the ride, on quiet sure-footed mares, and soon passed a pen in which were four young calves. Nev’s grandchildren had had the privilege of naming them and used serendipity as a base word broken into four, Ser, Ren, Dip, Ity. They were in a pen under virtual guard because of the predacious dingos which Nev told us you never saw, only their work.

We made our way to the top of a mountain, a large hill, really, about 3,000 feet (1,000 meters) above sea level, by zig-zagging because it was so steep, and stopped amidst trees to rest the horses. Then, suddenly, a beautiful wedge-tailed eagle rose above the line of the ridge not 30 feet away from us, so close we could see into its eyes as it looked back at us totally unafraid. It was circling upward in an updraught of air and carried on, unperturbed until it disappeared from our view. It was a serendipity moment in a serendipity occasion and comes back to mind because of the children’s use of the word.

That was the beauty; the sadness I will leave for the next time.

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