There are some idioms I just can’t quite get a handle on. Since I was a kid, I’ve had a longstanding friendly argument with my grandpa about whether the phrase “have your cake and eat it too,” makes any kind of sense. It doesn’t. It firmly does not. What is the point of a cake if you’re not going to eat it? Apparently, the idiom has undergone some changes since it was first written all the way back in the 1500s, but I maintain that it’s a silly phrase and I want nothing to do with it.
Similarly, “you can’t see the forest for the trees.” I get that it’s about not being able to see the big picture, but really, what is a forest without trees? If I can’t see the forest, I’m instead seeing a bunch of trees, which is, in fact, a forest. And even given the meaning, isn’t it important to consider the little details when talking about a larger idea, anyway? Not to say we should quibble away at the whys and hows when there’s action to be taken, but honestly, these idioms seem to cause more confusion than illumination, so what’s the point?
I’m being pedantic here and I recognize that. I’ll own it. But until these idioms are replaced by something that actually makes some kind of sense, I’m going to sit here and grit my teeth and think that maybe if we’d just eat the damn cake and look at the trees things might be a little better.
Anyway, here’s a drabble.
(Noun: Latin sylvan for “forest” and sonus for “sound”)
The sounds of the forest.
You’ve never climbed a tree before but something about the silence fills you with the need to do something. The bark is rough beneath your fingers, soft as they are with lotion and wax and whatever other treatment you’re trying this month, so rough that it hurts, but you grip the branch anyway and heave.
There’s a moment where you’re sure you’re going to fall, can practically feel yourself fighting gravity on the way down. But your grip is true, and soon you’re atop the branch like you’ve done it a hundred times. The sounds are all the same, somehow.