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Urban Leaving to Country Living

WONDROUS WORDS: Jack’s Navigation


In Melissa Harrison’s lovely At Hawthorn Time, I met Jack, an itinerant farm worker who navigates his way across the England by a combination of memory and instinct. Here are a couple of words that give some insight into his methods.

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Telluric: (təˈLOORik) of the earth as a planet, of the soil; a telluric current, or Earth current, is an electric current which moves underground

Usually he navigated by a kind of telluric instinct, an obscure knowledge he had learned to call on even when the land he walked through was unfamiliar(.)


(pərdərˈbāSH(ə)n) 1. anxiety; mental uneasiness. 2. a deviation of a system, moving object, or process from its regular or normal state of path, caused by an outside influence.

The last two times he’d slept he’d felt the perturbation of a large town not too far ahead running like static through his dreams.

I couldn’t decide if that used the first or the second definition of perturbation. What do you think?

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Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion. Hop on over and see what wondrous words other bloggers have discovered this week.


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4 Comments to

“WONDROUS WORDS: Jack’s Navigation”

  1. On November 16th, 2016 at 11:10 am Trish Says:

    Ohh lovely words! I think the second definition of perturbation is applicable to this passage as it seems to refer more to the sense of something ‘in the air’ rather than anything definite or tangible.

  2. On November 16th, 2016 at 2:30 pm Debbie Says:

    Thank you, Trish! I think you’re right about the second definition being the right one.

  3. On November 17th, 2016 at 2:36 am Judy Krueger Says:

    Ooh I love both of those words! I think he was using the first definition of perturbation but of course I just have that one sentence to go by. These last days I have felt the perturbation of my country due to the Presidential election result…both definitions!

  4. On November 17th, 2016 at 12:28 pm Debbie Says:

    Judy, it was so hard to decide which meaning. Perhaps, as you apply it to your Presidential election result, it’s also both.

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