Sunday, October 16, 2011

trail, trailer, wagon, fender

When I was 13 or 14 or so, one day I couldn't remember the name of that wide path paved with asphalt, for cars, outside my house. I thought and thought, and all I came up with was "trail." Okay, maybe I was 15 and I was stoned. But before long I remembered "road" and "street." They had just escaped me, temporarily.

But when I thought about "trail" I thought of "trailer" and the idea of something following something. A trailer trails behind a car (or truck, or tractor). And the trail itself is something people follow. Nice.

When I was 58, I saw or heard the root of the word "wagon" (it was being "waggon," the UK spelling at that moment) for the first time. It wags. It's like a trailer, often, but it has a single point of connection. Huh.

So "fender" came to mind. It fends off bumps or damage to or disruption of the wheels, on a wagon, or trailer, or truck. Nice. Plain old (really old) English words were just sitting there being meaningful antiques, and I had only heard them as sounds and pictures, without really looking.

A beautiful matching car and trailer spotted west of Albuquerque in August, 2011:



I like the reflection best (click for a better view of the car itself):



An interestingly parallel car and trailer I saw south of London (nearly to West Wittering, outside a butchershop where we stopped for meat pies for lunch, next to this place) in May, 2011:



It's a car and a half.

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