Word Nerd Wednesday: The Things She Sees

Happy Word Nerd Wednesday! This month’s story is about a fabulous woman named Maya.

Maya is a particularly skilled person. She has excellent attention to detail, often noticing tiny details other people overlook. Her work is always pristine, rarely an error anywhere, and she expresses her thoughts with meticulous precision. Her mastery of detail is so strong, a friend of hers once joked that Maya would notice an ant in a trench from fifty yards away.

“Trench ant” = trenchant (TREN-chunt), meaning perceptive or astute. It can also mean effective or articulate, and sometimes even forceful. It’s a multi-purpose word, really. It originates from a French word that means cutting. Maya, with her extraordinary attention to detail and precision, certainly fits one definition of trenchant. She’s perceptive, astute, and incisive. She isn’t easily distracted, cutting right down to the details that need attention.

It’s so easy sometimes to be distracted by the mess, to drown in the noise. And there’s always plenty of noise. The detail-oriented focus Maya has is far too rare, but it’s something to be admired when you see it. People like Maya contribute to this world in a whole host of ways, able to cut through all the chaos to the heart of the matter. It can be unnerving at times to be around someone with such perception, but it’s also an incredible gift.

If you have a Maya in your life, treasure them. Appreciate their unique abilities and the way they see the details of the world, right down to an ant in a trench.

Word Nerd Wednesday: The Paths We Take

Happy Word Nerd Wednesday! It’s a lovely sunny day here in my home with excellent light, the perfect day to share a story about a first-time homebuyer.

Shawna has just bought her first home, and she’s thrilled to move in and make it her own. She paints the walls, finds furniture, and sets about accessorizing her space. As a lover of nature, she wants to include a range of potted plants to finish the look, so she starts with one plant first, planning to add more in the future.

Unfortunately, though, the plant doesn’t do so well. Whether it was already diseased or needed more sunlight or got improper care, who can tell? (This is a judgement-free zone. Sometimes plants die and it’s no one’s fault. No one’s fault, you hear me?) But whatever the cause, the poor plant slowly turns brown and dies. Definitely not the look Shawna was going for.

So she buys another plant, hoping this time will be different. But this one goes the same way. Perhaps being a plant-owner is simply not in her future. But she’s not willing to give up on the fresh look a plant brings to her space. Like any savvy home designer, she adapts and finds a solution: she substitutes her real but really dead plant with a beautiful, artificial one. No mess, no death, and still a lovely, fresh look.

To “substitute the plant” = supplant (suh-PLANT), meaning to take the place of, to replace. The dead plant is supplanted by an artificial one when Shawna recognizes plant death is becoming a pattern.

Sometimes life does that, thwarts your carefully constructed plans, and so you swerve and create new plans to supplant the old ones. In our story, Shawna embraces that art of adaptation by refusing to compromise the vision of her home as one accessorized with plants; she simply finds another way to accomplish that.

She could keep buying plants and watching them die, hoping one will finally survive, but she doesn’t. Instead, she acknowledges her reality and releases her ideas of how she expected things to be, stepping off the path she thought would lead to her goal. And when she does that, she finds a different way to achieve her vision.

Things don’t always work out how we want them to. So we supplant our plans, our methods, but not our dreams. We can follow Shawna’s example and find a different path, but we don’t have to change our destination.