A Word for Wednesday

We are back in business, with "L" as the letter of choice :) So without further ado, I give you...

Lambent - a. [L. lambens, lambo, to lick.] Playing about; touching lightly; gliding over.

And just to have a very well-rounded understanding of the word's meaning, from the Miriam Webster dictionary:                     
                                        1. Playing lightly on or over a surface
                                        2. Softly bright or radiant
                                        3. Marked by lightness or brilliance especially of expression

I think this word is just begging to be used. It would be such a great addition to any number of descriptions. Think of it. A lambent flame. Lambent purity. Lambent wit. Oh, the possibilities are endless. This one little word can add so much atmosphere to a sentence.

Walt Whitman used it in the title and the body of one of his poems, Old Age's Lambent Peaks.

"The touch of flame--the illuminating fire--the loftiest look at last,
O'er city, passion, sea--o'er prairie, mountain, wood--the earth itself,
The airy, different, changing hues of all, in failing twilight,
Objects and groups, bearings, faces, reminiscences;
The calmer sight--the golden setting, clear and broad:
So much i' the atmosphere, the points of view, the situations whence
we scan,
Bro't out by them alone--so much (perhaps the best) unreck'd before;
The lights indeed from them--old age's lambent peaks."

There's so many ways to use this word that I'm really not sure how to use it in a narrative. Should it describe the setting? The character? Both? An attribute of either one? I don't know. But I promised myself I would write these story clips on the fly, so here goes:

"It was bliss to feel the ground under my feet. Even the sharp pricks from stones were welcome. My mother would scandalized if she saw me running through the woods as I was with my corset was unlaced, my hair fallen down, and my dress bunched up high enough to expose my ankles and a glimpse of leg to the night. Father would scold me for my impropriety, but he'd be hiding a smile in his frown, just as he always did. Neither would forbid me, though. I had been running to the lake after our dinner parties for years, and they knew it right well.

It was my refuge. Every rule, every expectation, every disquieting arrangement for my future vanished when I was there. No suitors could call on me. No meddlesome women could ask after my affairs. And I did not have to shower smiles on anyone. I did not usually mind the society my parents and I kept, or the behavior that was expected of my position, or the plans my father made on my behalf. I even liked it most days. But there were times when I needed my lake. Time to breathe and think.

The forest opened ahead and I was on the lake shore in a moment. I put one foot in and then the other, watching the cool, dark water cover my toes and lap up to my ankles. It was so tranquil here. Gentle waves dipped and curled under the lambent purity of moon and starlight. Fireflies winked at me and the host of frogs and insects made a symphony all their own. This place was etched into my very soul but still I tried to store every detail in my memory.

Memories were all I would be able to take with me for I was to be wed in a fortnight."


  1. Beautiful imagery, Caitlin. I felt as though I was running to the lake along with her. Nicely done!

  2. That just made my night :) Thank you!

  3. Ahahaha. I loved that! I definitely want to read more. I wish I could write something like that. :/

    BTW - I tagged you in a meme! :) Head over to my blog and check it out!

  4. Aw, thank you, Ashley! :) It's the first time I've written anything like that.

  5. Wow, I can honestly say I've never used this word but that will change! Beautifully done. And by the way, I LOVE your bio.

  6. Why, thank you, Julie, on both counts :) That's the first time I've ever used that word, but I intend to incorporate it much more regularly.


Do share your thoughts - I enjoy reading them :)