“Nothing is more beautiful than the loveliness of the woods before sunrise.”                     George Washington Carver

The word beautiful has been our go-to expression to describe the natural world and people, and experiences, yet there are many other worthy words that we could consider when we are moved by sunsets, rainbows, wildlife, and other times when we wish express our wonder.  We have panoramic, scenic, bucolic, dramatic, undulating and picturesque.

Exuberant Naturalist John Muir frequently used the word beautiful in his writings, yet he also found other ways to celebrate the outdoors…”This grand show is eternal.” “In the depths opf these woods, the stillness is at once sublime.” “One seeks the free expanse on lofty summits, islands of the sky , and on tranquil uplands where exhilarating air combines with the loveliest of the flora.” Very nice.

Let me introduce some perhaps unfamiliar new words to consider when you are trying to capture the beauty of nature:

If we are blessed with snow this winter, you can blurt aloud “aquabob,” an English term for icicles forming on rocks or eaves.

Goldfoil describes a sky lit by lightning in zigzag dints and creasings.

The next time you see the Gorge air rippling through the grass, you can say, “Pirr,” a Shetland word meaning a light breath of wind.

On a moonless night when you are admiring the stars, you can wonder, “The Milky Way is the cynosure of all eyes.”   Cynosure means something that strongly attracts attention by its brilliance.

Come spring, and the northern hemisphere experiences the return of our avian friends, you might hear their “melliflous” calls at daybreak.   Melliflous is sweet and musical, pleasant to hear.

One of my favorite words is “zugunruhe”, apt for this time of year when birds prepare to migrate, otherwise known as migratory restlessness.

And if none of the aforementioned words resonate with you, make up your own.  A five-year old girl created “honeyfur” to describe the soft seeds of grasses pinched through her fingertips.   Who knows? Perhaps one of your words will be spoken by others in the same breath as beautiful. ~

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