Tertiary Conundrums

I enjoy the sound of this: tertiary conundrums. The words popped into my head as I was doing dishes this morning. At first they sounded like pure nonsense, interesting only in their sonic qualities, their rhythmic syllables and the contrasting softness of the first word and the hard c and d sounds in the second. And there’s the hint of music in that final syllable – “drums.”

But slowly, as the word pair reverberated back and forth in my mind, and I repeated them aloud, I realized they conjured up an apt image  of my current condition. Mysteries, worries, thoughts and dreams were bobbing about at the periphery of my consciousness, flotsam in an ocean of awareness. Speaking the words aloud and becoming aware of their meaning allowed me to process my own subconscious thoughts.

I’m on summer break from teaching, and my mind naturally wanders more often these days. As Tolkien reminds us, “All who wander are not lost.” In fact, it’s essential that we allow our minds to wander, to follow the call of those seemingly random voices, for they may lead to wonderful discoveries. I hope especially that children have time to wander and play in unstructured and creative ways. Some wordplay ideas: jot down favorite words and pair them in unique combinations, write stories with these words, turn them into characters and plots, and share your creations.


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