After last week’s post, it seemed that encouragement was due. I know that “special” has different connotations, but that shouldn’t stop us from using it, provided that we define what it is we’re trying to say.I used to get a lot of guff for this; I can’t really choose a favorite color, because I like them all for different reasons. I can’t really choose a favorite season, because I find something enjoyable about each.
When learning a new language, often we teach personal values so the students can say, “I like this more than that.” Liking specific things makes us unique, individuals.
Does this necessarily mean that if “everything” is special, then nothing is? I don’t think so.
It seems a misapplication of the word if we assume that everything to have it is improperly labeled. For example, let’s take the seasons and their differences. Here is my flowery understanding of the year:
Winter is cold, crisp and chilly. It is snuggling up by the fireside with a book and a blanket while the snow piles up gently against the window. It is trekking across town in drifts to my knees, sometimes pulling a sled behind. Winter is quiet nights with clear skies and billions of stars, watching my breath rise in puffs as I try in vain to count.
Spring is thaw, blustery, windy and rainy. Trees begin to bud, leaves begin to grow, and green shoots push through the last snows. It is bright, it is cloudy; rain washes away black and grey slush, and people cross the streets with big umbrellas and bright rain-boots. Birds chirp and make their nests, insects start to buzz, and everything grows.
Summer feels warm and hot. Shady spaces are cool, and breezes flow through open windows. Summer is sandcastles on the beach, flip-flops around the house and backyard sprinklers. Walks downtown, craft fairs and snowcones. Summer is evening concerts alfresco, and rest.
Autumn is cool, crisp and colorful. Leaves begin to turn riotous reds, outrageous orange and glowing gold. The air smells sweet and dry, wet and earthy, spiced and open. Autumn is knit sweaters and knee-length boots; it is long walks and short walks and just sitting. Autumn is camping, fall rains and curling up with books.
Well, Reader, I challenge you to tell me objectively which season (based on these descriptions) is any less special than the others. Each has its own feel, taste, smell; how can we lump Autumn with Spring? They are completely different.
People are the same, Reader. You have talents I can only dream about, you know specific things, and you have your own goals. Don’t use “special” insincerely; apply it liberally to everyone around you for a reason you find absolutely unique.