Up, up, up

I have been toying with the 26 letters of the word-forming alphabet for more years than I care to remember. Many of the words I had to look up in the dictionary to decipher both spelling and correct meaning.

As a matter of fact, though my Little Lady could quote many passages, I have never read The Holy Bible, but I have read Webster`s Unabridged two-volume dictionary from cover to cover twice, but never in my lifetime did I find it necessary to look up the word up. I never realized one word in the English language could be so bold as to be a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, and preposition. Not until it was drawn to my attention by an email that flickered onto the screen of my computer. Here, in part, is what I read.

“No two-letter word in English has more meanings than the word ‘up.’ It is listed in the dictionary as an (adv), (prep), (adj), (n), or (v). It’s easy to understand up, meaning toward the sky or at the top of a list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake up?

“At a meeting, why does a topic come up? Why do we speak up, and why are the officers up for election, and why is it up to the secretary to write up a report? We call up our friends, brighten up a room, polish up silver, warm up the leftovers and clean up the kitchen. We lock up the house and fix up the old car.

“At other times, this little word has special meaning. People stir up trouble, line up for tickets, work up an appetite and think up excuses. To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed up is special. And this up is confusing: a drain must be opened up because it is stopped up. We open up a store in the morning but we close it up at night. We seem to be pretty mixed up about up.

“To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of up, look up the word up in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes up almost a quarter of the page and can add up to about 30 definitions.

“When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding up. When the sun comes out, we say it is clearing up. When it rains, the earth soaks it up. When it does not rain, things dry up. If you are up to it, you might try building up a list of the many ways to use up. It will take up a lot of your time, but if you don’t give up, you may wind up with a hundred or more ups.”

 One could go on and on, but I am using up my allotted space so I’d better shut up. Besides, I got to get up and do what you do each morning when you wake up: you get up and U P.

On the farm front, one of the unquestionable country living rites not yet taken away from us by bureaucratic power tripping is the freedom, when nature calls, to head for the nearest tree or hedgerow. Perhaps that is the reason why I have planted so many trees during the course of my lifetime. I knew I was going to get a little lazy when age caught up to me.

Strange as it may seem to you, spring is just around the corner. A little bird, hiding in the tree my kidneys just watered, told me so.

By the way, folks, have you marked your calendar? Coming up is our 9th annual Greenspaces for Wellington bird and bat house building work shop during March break on March 16, 17 and 18, from 10am to 4pm at Greenway Blooming Centre, 2000 Shantz Station Road, Breslau, on the right just south of Highway 7.  See you all there.

Take care, ’cause we care.




Barrie Hopkins