Thursday, January 19, 2012

When Bend Darkles, It Really Suckles

One of my Facebook friends came up with a terrific word this morning: "darkle," a verb meaning "to grow dark, gloomy, etc."


According to Dictionary.com, the verb is a "back formation" from "darkling," an adjective or adverb that dates back to the 15th Century. "Darkling" is probably most famously used in Matthew Arnold's 1867 poem "Dover Beach":


And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.


"Darkle" is "a fantastic word to describe our weather," the Facebook friend said. It is indeed, with the skies gray and gloomy, the wind roaring and the rain (at times) coming down in torrents.

I liked "darkle" so much that it inspired me to coin another verb: "suckle," meaning "to grow incredibly and almost unendurably sucky, like Bend, Oregon in winter."

Based on my long experience, Bend's weather is likely to remain suckling into the middle of June.

7 comments:

Marshall_Will said...

Then as you plug it into the Thesaurus Map it's surrounded by 4-letter words? Love it.

Our rivers here are swelling with darkle and the town of Turner is under Evac I'm told by phone. Our 'creek' is 60' foot across and looks to be moving at about 40 mph.

KF reports it's snowin' like the dickendarkle. Gotta' love Jan. in the PNW. Anyone notice how Seattle is turning to the darkle side more each winter? They never have snow on the ground this long. Certainly when there's none in PDX?

Jack Elliott said...

" `Darkle" is "a fantastic word to describe our weather," the Facebook friend said. It is indeed, with the skies gray and gloomy, the wind roaring and the rain (at times) coming down in torrents."

What -- you get two days of gray and you've folded? After the sunniest and warmest day since, well, since well before I moved up here?

H. Bruce Miller said...

"After the sunniest and warmest day since, well, since well before I moved up here?"

???

"Sunniest and warmest day"? When was that? Sunny, maybe, but it hasn't been warm since mid-October.

Jack Elliott said...

"Sunniest and warmest day"?

Sheesh. I need to proof my stuff before hitting the "publish" button. I meant sunniest and warmest winter. It was pretty nice for several weeks there. All over now, by the looks of it and it's high time we got some precipitation,

H. Bruce Miller said...

I thought that's what you meant, but I wasn't sure. Yes, we had an unusually mild early winter. Freakishly mild, in fact. I'm sure the rest of the winter will be darkling enough to make up for it.

Marshall_Will said...

A nice gal stopped by our upper floor condo to get "citizen reporter" footage of Silver Creek flooding off our back deck for KATU.

It wound up airing at 5am this morning. Pretty cool, we had never seen water that high but didn't live here in '96 when the bowling alley ( half a block away ) totally flooded.

We're missing the bigger picture here though. When you look at the Farmer's Almanac, their Regions, or Zones show us as 'Coastal' PNW. Stretching from N. Cal to BC west of the Cascades. AFAIK, been that way forever.

Right now this storm is reaching RENO w/ 82 mph winds! It's almost as if The Cascades don't even EXIST any more? Levelled. There was a time when people in Sandpoint had absolutely no CLUE as to what weather W. of TC 'looked' like? Just wasn't their problem. Well.., Boise didn't get a Spring NOR a Summer this year!

H. Bruce Miller said...

I'm going to quote the entire last stanza of "Dover Beach" because it's beautiful -- and, I think, true:

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.