… tenderly running one’s fingers through someone’s hair? There is a word for it, I swear. It’s Cafuné and it’s from the Brazilian Portuguese.
In the eagerness to become the most spoken language in the world, English may have forgotten to create and design words for subtler, more gentler facets of humanity. But some languages remembered. They have words for things that defy us completely and leave us speechless. Love the irony.
These languages have surpassed the so-called limiting boundaries of speech and verbal expression, and effectively managed to finally afford language a good rep after years of bad press. And recently, I have discovered that there are words that actually help us; bumbling and verbally handicapped as we are, define some of those insanely beautiful facets that define who we really are, and what our lives amount to.
The Japanese, for example, have a word, or rather, a concept called Wabi-Sabi, which refers to beauty in imperfection. It reflects on an intuitive way of living that emphasizes finding beauty in imperfection, and accepting the natural cycle of growth and decay.
Dear God, this is truth. We have ALL experienced this, no? We see the beauty in grubby, unwashed faces of beggar children. We see the beauty in the generosity of our lunatic Indian brethren, regardless of their terrible civic sense. We find beauty in loss, in pain, in effort, in failure. Beauty is everywhere, and as human beings we possess the instinct to discern it. And the Japanese have a word for it. Awkwardnesses, instances, fleeting nuances. There are words for them all. Indeed.
As a writer and reader and like so many others, I experience the limitations of the English language. Its clumsy inarticulacies, its archaic restrictedness, its annoying specificities. But today, I can appreciate that it too has it’s own beauty. Wabi-Sabi.