This morning’s hike up the mountain was glorious. Yesterday’s rain still dripped from the branches and the ground sucked at my boots as I trudged towards the summit. The ground heaved and shuddered, and it occurred to me that perhaps the notes in Uncle O. Underhill’s journals regarding the mountain were not experiments in metaphor. Perhaps this mountain truly is a living organism, and Underhill built his house on a remarkably craggy part of this creature. Perhaps a knee-cap, or an eyebrow.
Bubo loves our life here; while I have my moments of nostalgia for Brooklyn and our city home, my intrepid companion has fully embraced life in the country. Her feathers are more lustrous and she has quit cursing. (She has not given up her penchant for Schlock Horror Films. I was awoken from my nap with the tell-tale screeches of The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms.) Our morning constitutionals continue – whether we be city dwellers or country dwellers – and this morning held the promise of newness. Perhaps it was the coming of spring. Perhaps it was the enormous mug of coffee I begin each morning with. Whatever it was, I inhaled the scent of wet leaves deeply as I rested against a splintered oak and felt invigorated. Bubo soared majestically before dropping down for some late hunting. (Methinks her love of our new country life involves the fresh variety of snacks just outside our doorstep.)
What with my morning walk (before the sun came out and before the snow showered), I’m sure you can guess what today’s word is.
Umbrageous is an adjective meaning affording or forming shade; shady. Also: not easily perceived, as if from being darkened or shaded. So, you could say that the forest was filled with umbrageous trees and that my brother Mordecai lives an umbrageous life. The word can also mean easily offended; apt to take offense.
Umbrageous stems from the French ombrageux, which is from the Old French umbrageus, which, in turn, is from umbre for shade. All this from the Latin umbra.
Can you see the word umbrage in all of these? Another way to say that you take offense is that you take umbrage. Umbrage is a feeling of pique or resentment. It is also shade.
Now, pray do not take umbrage should I be silent for a few days. It appears in all my mucking about I aggravated my cough, and I am laid up with some version of a flu. I have taken to my chair in front of the fire, with a hot toddy and my plushest slippers.