Today’s SoCS prompt, driven by the A-to-Z blogging challenge was to use a word that starts with “de” and for extra points, make it a word that ends with “ed.” Extra points? I love extra points. I see the phrase “Extra Points” and I’m all “I gotta get me some of that.”
Of course, Linda doesn’t really keep score over there at her blog so I’m not sure what on Earth these extra points are good for. I still want them.
The word that immediately popped into my head, and since it’s the Stream of Consciousness Saturday post, I think that’s the word I should go with, is one of the strangest words I know: denuded. I first encountered this word while still in high school when people were just beginning to get all Earth friendly and environmentally aware. I was reading an op-ed article blasting one of the local coal companies for denuding hillsides up in Ohio in order to strip mine the coal beneath them.
My first thought was “well you can’t strip mine coal and somehow leave the trees in place” but my second thought was “denuded?” I mean wouldn’t that be like un-nuded or dis-nuded, i.e putting clothes on or planting trees. Right?
Maybe I don’t understand the whole “de” prefix thing, but it’s usually a negative/anti/reverse reference. Destabilize, decelerate, deactivate, decapitate, degenerate, debone, debug, debunk, decaffeinate, decertify, decriminalize, deface, defrost, deform, defrock, defund, dehumidify, dehydrate, delist, demystify, deodorize, depreciate, deregulate and detoxify all seem to fit my understanding of what “de” does to a word. De-nude does not fit.
Nude itself is a funny word. It’s somehow more acceptable than naked although it often means the same thing. Studying a nude painting or statue seems way better than looking at pictures of naked people. It’s like the distinction I try to make between fire and flame. I tell my wife that when I am using a torch, I am working with a flame. She insists that I am playing with fire.
I don’t think that “nuding the forest” would make any sense either; it’s not really a verb. They could have moved one letter further up the alphabet. Perhaps “enude” would imply making something nude. Of course I would always opt for adding “ify” to the end to make a word into a verb. I think we would all understand if someone nudified a forest. Forest nudifaction is something we could protest and rally against. Or, we could just go with deforest. I mean that is what the coal company did. Actually, they demountained too. They took all the stuff that used to be part of a beautiful mountain landscape and they turned it into a boring and possibly toxic brownfield.
As I recall, there was the promise of a leaving behind a green field where people could enjoy nature. An artist rendering of a flower covered meadow with a crystal blue stream was shown in the coal company ads. By the way, “leaving behind a green field” shouldn’t be confused with green fielding which kind of has the opposite meaning. A green field operation usually results in something that bears little resemblance to a green field. Maybe it’s just when we talk about nature that we get confused.
After I graduated from college and slogged my way through job number one, I moved to Seattle, Washington. Toward the end of my stay in the great northwest, I worked for Weyerhaeuser Company. Those guys knew something about denuding. They called it clear-cutting but it had the same effect. They defended their term.
Hmmm, “defended” would have worked for today’s prompt and the extra points, and it might have worked for my stream of consciousness, too. To fend for oneself isn’t really that unlike defending oneself from something. Sorry, I got sidetracked.
Weyerhaeuser made a big deal out of the fact that clear-cutting a section of a forest made it easier to plant trees. Deforestation by clear-cutting made reforestation easier. Weyerhaeuser clear-cut, Mount St. Helens denuded. I was living in Seattle in 1980 when Mount St. Helens erupted. After the eruption, you couldn’t get very close to the mountain. In 2004, I was back in Seattle for a conference and I took a side trip to Mount St. Helens. They had replaced the bridges and they had built two visitor centers. Nature had begun its own slow reforestation project, but the damage was still obvious.