The Lang Reed

OED word of the day:
Lang Reed, n.
[‘ With the. A period of scarcity just before the spring, when winter stocks have run low.’]
Pronunciation: Brit. /ˌlaŋ ˈriːd/,  U.S. /ˈlæŋ ˌrid/,  Scottish /ˌlaŋ ˈrid/, /ˈlaŋ ˌrid/
Forms:  pre-17 19– Lang Reid,   19– Lang Reed,   19– Long Reed.
Origin:Probably a borrowing from Norn. *

The furnace ignites but goes out ere the fan clicks on.
The lemon thyme has dried into a crisp sachet.
I set it out on the back porch and watch the sun sink
behind the warehouse lofts a block over at close of day.
We have an hour more of twilight than we did last night.
And yet we have, as well, one hour less than we did then.
From far off, the neighbor’s pear blooms look snow white.
We stay at home and bundle up, content to bide with kith and kin.
In one week, spring will come, at least in name. The hardware store
has not set out its store of herbs. Tonight the low will dip to 22.
The freezer holds a block of stock that’s redolent of shrimp and corn.
It smells like summer’s peak, a haze of honeysuckle and dew.
The moon wanes away till it rises late, a sharply convex horn.
The stars are sparse, faint crumbs of light on a cloth of frigid blue.


*  Etymology:Probably < an unattested Norn compound (compare Old Icelandic langr long adj.1 and Old Icelandic hríð snowstorm, period of bad weather, Norwegian ri, (Nynorsk) rid period of bad weather, onset of bad weather, illness, etc., Swedish regional rid onset of illness (cognate with Old English hrīð storm; probably < the same Germanic base as Old English hriðian to shake, tremble, have a fever: see note)); compare Old Icelandic langafasta Lent, lit. ‘long fast’.
Old English hriðian is cognate with Middle Dutch rīden to shake, quiver (Dutch rijden, (now regional) ridden), Old High German ridēnrīdōn to tremble (Middle High German rīden), as well as several nouns meaning ‘fever’: Old English hrið, Middle Dutch rēde (Dutch †ridde, †ritte, †rit, †rijde), Old Saxon hrido (Middle Low German rēderēterīterit), Old High German rittorito (Middle High German ritte, German (now archaic) Ritten, †Ritte, †Ritt), all < the same Indo-European base as Early Irish crith, Old Welsh crit (Welsh cryd), both in sense ‘action of trembling, fever’.

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