Rick's List - Vernal edition
I find it interesting that, in addition to "fall," we can also call the post-summer, pre-winter period "autumn." But there are no synonyms for "winter," "summer" or "spring." You'd think one of those wordy people — a Daniel Webster or a Samuel Johnson — could have invented some options for "winter," "spring" or "summer."
Wait! Steve "Guitar" Miller, the rock musician, could do it! Remember how, in his song "The Joker," he invented the word "pompitous"? That's a great-sounding word. Plus, in the same tune, Miller wrote, "lovey-dovey, lovey-dovey, lovey-dovey all the time/Ooo-we baby I'll sure show you a good time."
What, then, do I have to lose by trying to contact Miller to see if he can supply some new seasonal synonyms? Not a damned thing!
With my luck, Miller would in fact respond — only he'd say, "All I could come up with is a third synonym for 'autumn' and 'fall' – which is 'pompitous,' by the way — but nothing for the other three. I'm sorry."
Oh, well. I do believe the word "vernal" specifically refers to "spring," but it's an adjective and not a noun and, as such, one wouldn't exclaim, after a protracted and mind-numbing winter, "Man, am I glad vernal's here!" Not even Steve "Guitar" Miller would do that.
But at least spring IS here! Get vernal, everyone!
Sadly, "vernal" is sort of a quease-inducing word. If you didn't know it describes spring-like qualities, it's what you think you'd hear from your physician as he walks grimly into the examining room with an X-ray, one that appears disturbingly blotchy even to your layperson's eye, and an ashen facial expression.
"Rick, I'm afraid your condition is now vernal."
But why be negative and grim? Winter is over — and I'm energized and am going to charge into the ... vernality (vernal-ness?) of it all! Here's my Rick-centric list of signs that the season is here:
1. The first spider.
2. First tick.
3. Bikers roaring past our house en route to yet another blessing of the bikes or a pig roast. (Though not a biker, I would attend a blessing of the pig that's about to be roasted.)
4. The gorgeous flowers on the giant magnolia tree in our front yard, which blossom for about three days before falling and rotting — with a fetid reek and mostly on our neighbor's property.
4. Taking a helicopter home to avoid the Pequot Avenue traffic stalemate at Fred's Shanty.
5. Walpurgis Night! This occurs on April 30 and is what Halloween was before it was ruined. You know how Linus cutely waited for the Great Pumpkin on Halloween? Not only would the Great Pumpkin show up on Walpurgis Night, he would kidnap Linus and sell him to witches. Excellent.
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You learn things in life, like the scent of your mother or the smell of braciole stewing in tomato sauce on a Sunday morning.