Monday, March 30, 2020

Top Ten Most Beautiful Phrases in the English Language

I love language.  I'm a huge fan.  Words are beautiful.  They are glorious. So I decided I would make this list of the top ten most beautiful phrases in the English language.  This is of course highly subjective, but perhaps you'll agree on some of these gorgeous phrases. 

10. Cellar Door - often regarded as the most beautiful phrase in the English language. I'll include it here for good measure. It reminds me of course of the classic time travel movie Donnie Darko. It rolls off the tongue.  It's smooth. It evokes mystery and intrigue.  It makes you wonder what's behind the door. And just what might be in the cellar? Perhaps another world, or a parallel reality?

9. In a Mirror Darkly - A classic phrase from the New Testament, which inspired Philip K. Dick to write his novel 'A Scanner Darkly' which explored the idea of what technology and cameras really saw, and how it could be perceived.  The phase "in a mirror darkly" takes me to a dark room in which I stand, and clouds surround my head, and I'm looking into a mirror, trying to see out a window, and I can only see a glint of light on the mirror, but the longer I look, the more I see...

8. Halcyon Digest - This is the name of a 2010 album by one of my favorite bands Deerhunter.  The phrase is spectacular.  I just repeat it to myself from time to time 10 years later still, because it's so delicious.  Halcyon digest.  Say it out loud.  Halcyon's definition: "denoting a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful." Digest, a summary of materials.  But when you put them together, it gives this impression of nostalgia, a time that glows in the memory, whether justly or unjustly.  Go back and live it and it may have been a nightmare or rather dull, but something about it lasts forever and makes it glow as eternal.  So it's amazing and part of it never ends, because we access it from time to time, and it's power remains, even grows over time. 

7. Apple Orchard - Another tart and yet sweet phase. Something seems mystical about the orchard, I'm not sure why.  Maybe it was growing up reading about Johnny Appleseed, or maybe it's the creation saga, of the apple on the tree and the first temptation. Who knows why! For me it also brings to mind a beautiful track by TV on the Radio called "Tonight" which describes an orchard as a mindscape one explores in which memories reside. 

6. Time-Space Continuum - Of course I love anything sci-fi related. Time, space, and the entire continuum of time and space.  It expresses a universe of meaning, and calls our attention to the reality of time, like looking at the water when one is the fish.  Time is the pond, we are the fish, and I like to look at the time, the space, and the expanse of it.  

5. Spiritual Epiphany - Epiphany glows for me from an episode of Battlestar Galactica oddly enough. Epiphany also a great track by Bear McCreary. An epiphany suggests a change moment when one goes from the worm to the butterfly. Everything changes.  Spirit and epiphany, add them together and they delight with hope, mystery, fire, and change. 

4. Temporal Paradox - This phrase brings to mind Salvador Dali, or Star Trek, or Stephen Hawking. For me it also brings to mind G.K. Chesterton the famous British philosopher who was regarded as the "king of paradox" with his books like The Everlasting Man, Heretics, and my favorite, Orthodoxy. He was referred by this title because of his ability to explain how so many things in life prove to be paradoxes.  

3. Ethereal Realm - Celestial, space, heavens, ethereal rolls off the tongue. Realm as well, rolls off the tongue.  Ethereal realm suggests perhaps medieval nights, fantasy lands, elves and ogres, and the arena of ideas, of parallel dimensions and of places beyond our perception.  These two words together are somehow subdued, yet powerful, they roll by so quickly they seem to disappear. Much is the same with parallel dimensions and space time paradoxes. If we experience them, we may forget, or we may have never existed in the first place.  

2. Aurora Borealis - I remember mom and dad pulling over at the edge of town in a farmers field to look up in the night sky at the northern lights.  Aurora Borealis brings to mind mystery, and stars and the moon, and the galaxy.  But it also brings to mind a song from the Foo Fighter's third album "There is Nothing Left to Lose." Aurora is Dave Grohl's hometown and he repeatedly declares in the song, despite his homesickness, "I remember Aurora." So for me, it brings to mind the longing for home. 

1. Mystic Meadow - It seems to glow golden and bright.  A beautiful place in the country, one might say (I'm referencing a Boards of Canada song.)  Forests, trees, mysterious creatures, backset on a search for meaning.  Mystery, spirit, meaning, truth, and the meadow state, the state of being in a beautiful, peaceful place, that's what it brings to mind for me.  

Honorable mention: Sequoia, The Eternal Jerusalem, Majestic Melancholy, Rose of Sharon, Lily of the Valley, Kingdom of Heaven, Revelation of Truth, Resilience, High Charity, Melodious, Transitional Phase, Time Travel, Defiance, Retrospect, Mountains beyond mountains, Post-Apocalyptic Nightmare Society, Age Old Shadow Civilization, Fortune favors the Bold, City of Ember, Shadowplay, The Twilight of the Human Race, Sentry, Mystery, Young Effectuals, I could go on and on...