Another Day in the Country
Nourishing the noodle
© Another Day in the Country
My brain and its function have been on my mind (so to speak) because a dear friend of mine is battling brain cancer.
To lose any part of one’s brain capability is catastrophic. To watch it happen to a loved one — in all the multiple ways that loss manifests itself — is heart-rending.
We take our brain for granted. It is just there from birth, invisible in its case, usually in pristine condition, just waiting to learn, record, advance, remind, repair, and keep everything running in our body for a lifetime. How amazing is that? And the brain does this automatically.
If injured, the brain can even repair itself. This is Mother Nature at work, a God-given gift or some higher power’s miraculous invention — however you attribute its manifestation. Our brain is an unparalleled gift.
And what, in our ignorance, do we do with it? Bang it around just for sport? Fill it with drugs? Destroy it with alcohol? Feed it rubbish? Store its memory banks full of violence and anger? Smother its creativity and ignore its prompts?
Mankind has been able to create some pretty fantastic technology, mimicking the brain’s many functions, but brain transplants aren’t available.
So, come on, folks, take care of your brain. In fact, you owe it to your brain to learn how it’s nourished.
Because our brain usually is so unassuming, we take it for granted, rarely stopping to think, “Is this food I’m eating or this activity I’m engaging in, good for my brain — for my whole body?”
I’ve always loved words — beginning at an early age. I love to read. I’m eternally curious and started reading “How to Increase Your Word Power” in “Reader’s Digest” when I was a kid. I’d sound the words out, store them away, and if I was really lucky, I might be able to figure out a way to use that new word in a sentence. I’m still fascinated by words.
My daughter suggested a word game that I might like. It comes as an app on my new fangled phone. The game has become a never-ending source of inspiration and amusement. Sometimes, I’m stuck and can’t figure out what word the game is hunting for. Then again, I have a patient grandson who’s taught me to do screen shots and he’ll help me out. He’s also a word person, thankfully.
There are ways you can get help conjuring up the right words in the game, but I ignore any offers that cost real money, preferring to keep searching my brain’s memory bank for just the right word.
The other day, playing my word game while eating breakfast, the game called for the word “laity.”
I had to laugh. How many normal people are familiar with that word? How many times have you read it in a book or used it in a sentence?
For most folks, I’m assuming, the answer would be rarely, or never, but my brain remembered it, thanks to my preacher father.
I knew who the laity were, and also what they most likely expected of the minister’s family. The laity were important.
Sometimes, when my brain is searching for a word or someone’s name or where I last used my billfold, I imagine my mind like banks of file drawers stretching back across an office. My brain is opening one drawer after another until it comes to the correct folder, with an answer: “upmost” or “conjugate,” for instance.
Sometimes my brain is just plain tired and doesn’t want to search anymore. I imagine it saying to me: “Just give me a minute. I’ll find it. You just go on and do something else for a bit.”
Sure enough, later on, here comes the answer, popping through.
Sometimes, I imagine my brain talking to me: “Don’t panic. You know how to do this. Just take a deep breath….”
And I listen.
Sometimes, my brain suddenly conjures up old faces, like that miraculous app on my phone that groups similar pictures together — maybe of flowers, or of the day you went to the zoo — and plays them back like a slide show set to music.
Our brains do that for us, constantly, but without the music.
Just now, I remember a fragment of scripture that I learned as a child: “If there be any good, think on these things.”
I listen to that advice and believe it makes my brain happier and my body healthier, on another day in the country.