Ronei Harden

Writer | Editor | Educator

Writer's Wednesday - Word of the Day

WOTD - verdant.jpg

Part of speech: adjective
Origin: French, late 16th century

Definitions:

  1. Bright green in hue

  2. Green due to lush, growing vegetation

  3. Inexperienced or fresh

Examples of “verdant” in a sentence:

“The verdant trees and plants of the Amazon rainforest are stunningly beautiful."
"Living in a drab city, I long for the verdant pastures of the countryside."

Example of “verdant” in literature:

From Neil Gaiman's Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophesies of Agnes Nutter, Witch:

In addition to which, every couple of months Crowley would pick out a plant that was growing too slowly, or succumbing to leaf-wilt, or browning, or just didn't look quite as good as the others, and he would carry it around to all the plants. "Say goodbye to your friend," he'd say to them. "He just couldn't cut it..."

Then he would leave the flat with the offending plant, and return an hour or so later with a large empty flower pot, which he would leave somewhere conspicuously around the flat.

The plants were the most luxurious, verdant, and beautiful in London. Also the most terrified.

The One About Always Being Right

I absolutely LOVE the famed tv sitcom, Friends.  When the show first aired, I literally thought someone had videotaped me, my life, and my dearest friends during the latter 80s and early 90s. Oh, we were a motley group of people who loved life…especially each other.  Stories unfolded in show episodes that brought this group of friends together to walk through life and face the challenges that life brings.  One of my favorite episodes is the one when Ross and Phoebe have a long argument over the theory of evolution.  I appreciate how the show and its writers treated a frequent problem that occurs between friends—times of disagreement over controversial situations and/or topics.

Since the 2016 election, party lines militantly formed. Close friends and even family members found themselves fighting over things that, given the big picture of daily life, really aren’t important to every day relationships.  The internet became a bastion where angry mobs reenact scenes from A Tale of Two Cities; American citizens are willing to pillage each other over the issue that a particular MAN (or woman) reigns on the throne of American democracy (or what’s left of it).  It is my opinion that in order for a person to even think  he or she can ethically behave this way, he/she would have to believe that the person who sits in that chair really has supreme universal power over everything.  

Seriously? Really?

Over the course of a year, events have the ability to bring people together—remember the Olympics? How about the recent Masters Tournament and the return of Tiger Woods? Somehow, while walking the grounds of the beautiful Augusta National Golf Club, I didn’t see that. It was probably due to the fact that the golf club doesn’t allow phones on the premises during the tournament. Unfortunately, social media has enabled and empowered others to tear each other violently apart (ah yes, thank you, national election).

  1. When a situation occurs that results in a disagreement with a close friend, how do you respond?

  2. Is the main goal to prove you are right and make your friend feel like an ignorant failure?

  3. Do you only wish to prove your point, even if it results in losing a friendship?

  4. Is it more important to push your opinions on others, regardless of how they think (or feel)?

  5. Is it really your job to force others to think or believe a certain way?

  6. Or do you cherish the relationship, love your friend, and trust that God will bring light into the dark places in His own time?

Early in season 2 of Friends, Phoebe confronts Ross about this very attitude and has fun toying with his adamant stance because she KNOWS her friend too well. When Ross engages in an intellectual conversation that turns the focus back on HIM, he realizes in some teeny tiny way, he could be wrong. Evolution isn’t the issue here; it’s the attitude in which Ross tries to talk to Phoebe, one of his closest friends. He assumes the role of “intellectual expert”, so sure that Phoebe couldn’t possibly know what she’s talking about.  Oh, but she does.  The best part—she doesn’t stop being Ross’ friend due to their disagreement; she just proves a very important point—we cannot and do not know EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING.

We do, however, know Someone who does. It’s our job to introduce our Friend to all of our friends. To my recollection, the only people He ever talked down to were those who called themselves the “experts in matters of the Law”.  We know how that story ended.

So………how important is it for YOU  to always be right?


FRIENDS, Season 2, Episode 3 - The One Where Heckles Dies. Ross, the paleontologist, and Phoebe, the new-age free spirit, argue about Evolution.

Throwback Thursday, Autumn Poetry

October is the month when we officially recognize the change of seasons.

Pumpkin spice becomes the assumed signature autumn flavor and deciduous trees begin their annual shedding of leaves. Temps begin to fall and the air takes on a certain fragrant crispness.

The season of plaid flannel shirts, boots, scarves, and sweaters returns and we find ourselves ready to nestle by the fireplace with a good book and a warm beverage.

The great poets captured the temperate season's glory in these classic selections:

"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, 
   Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; 
Conspiring with him how to load and bless 
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run; 
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees, 
   And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; . . ."
(continue reading To Autumn by John Keats

"Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf 
How the heart feels a languid grief 
Laid on it for a covering, 
And how sleep seems a goodly thing 
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?" 
(continue reading Autumn Song by Dante Gabriel Rosetti)

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; . . . "
(continue reading The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost)

  "I spot the hills
With yellow balls in autumn.
I light the prairie cornfields
Orange and tawny gold clusters
And I am called pumpkins.
On the last of October . . . "
(continue reading Theme in Yellow by Carl Sandburg


What are some of your favorite autumn poems?
Find more works about autumnal splendor at Poetry Foundation or check out the October issue of Poetry Magazine.