Friday, September 8, 2017

Sensory Word of the Week

According to, evanescent means "passing out of sight; fading away; vanishing" as well as "ephemeral or transitory." sites that the word is derived from the Latin word evanescere, meaning "to evaporate" or "to vanish." The word vanish in English also comes from the same Latin root.

When I think about evanescence, I mostly think of experiencing it through my sense of sight. I think about how fireworks flash so brightly, then fade away. Or smoke dissipating. Or fog. A few years ago I went on a trip to southern New Mexico over New Years, and there had just been a snowstorm. Over a foot of snow covered the ground, and as we drove for a few hours through mountains and valleys, we passed through thick pockets of fog. When the fog cleared, we'd be surprised by the rocky ridges that were revealed and how close they were to us.

Sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings can fade just as easily as things can vanish from sight. As the first few weeks of September pass, summer is evanescent, and we can notice the changes through all of our senses. The heat and humidity slowly dissipate. The sweet smells and bright colors of blooming flowers and trees fade away. The buzz of cicadas in the evenings has nearly disappeared already. As the season changes to fall, new elements will unfold, ready for our senses to soak them in.

What awe-inspiring examples of evanescence have you experienced?

For the past 7 weeks the Sensory Word series has featured escent or esence-ended words that describe unique sensory experiences or abilities. If you have any suggestions for words that can keep this mini-series going, pass them along.

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