One of Hali’s vocabulary words the other day was meander, which got me……okay, I won’t say it. Did you know the origin of the word is from the Maiandros or Maeander River in what is present-day Turkey? The ancient Greek geographer Strabo said of the river, “its course is so exceedingly winding that everything winding is called meandering.” There was a god associated with the river, also named Maiandros, of whom Strabo said, “And they say that lawsuits are brought against the god Maiandros for altering the boundaries of the countries on his banks, that is, when the projecting elbows of land are swept away by him; and that when he is convicted the fines are paid from the tolls collected at the ferries.”
So the word meander, which we think of as to wander, ramble, snake, stray from the course – has its roots in an actual river and still has a geographical meaning. A meander is a bend in a sinuous river or watercourse.
My day usually has a little meandering in it, as we live on 15 acres of fairly dense woods, with lots of raw land nearby. And it’s not unusual for me to veer from the path. I may not be out in the Amazon or anything major, but I still get a little thrill of discovery when I find a new route.
It makes me think of some of my very favorite words ever, by JRR Tolkien:
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.