Ah... the love of matters esoteric
Pilm must be one of my Absolute-Favourite-Four-Letter-Words ever. Why? Roll it around in your mouth - pillllllmmm, pilmy pilm. How many words do you know that end in -ilm?
It's a gorgeous word, which sadly isn't listed in most dictionaries - the usually adequate dictionary.com doesn't know it.
I've found it in my Merriam-Webster's, and of course, the greatest dictionary of them all.
Both agree that pilm is an English (I assumed they meant English from England, but it is used in Wales too) dialectical word meaning, simply, 'dust', but to me there's an important difference between the two.
You see, when I was growing up in Hampshire, in the long lazy summers there was ample time to climb a hefty but forgiving Oak and sit and watch time rolling gently over the English countryside. We'd do this, my brother and I, counting the grazing cattle, fashioning catapults from blocks of Yew, staring as long as we could into the setting sun, drinking home-made lemonade, reading Enid Blyton, generally having the time of our lives.
And then, in the slumbering early evening of August's drawn out days, a tractor would pass by.
Now then. Picture the farmer, perched high up on his Kubota M8200, rushing through his busy daily schedule, anxious to get the lower paddocks fertilized before dusk, tearing through the farm-yard as he crosses to the shed to hitch up the next implement to the hydraulics at the back of his tractor. His huge rear wheel skids slightly in the dirt skirting the hencoop, sending up a cloud of ... yes, this would be properly called dust.
But wait! What if.....
The farmer isn't hurrying. He's done his work for today, and he's easing the tractor between the hens on the left and the haystack on the right. Barry, the retired Shire horse, gazes at the chugging machine as it slowly pulls away from the path. As the farmer crosses the little bridge into the yard, the bubbling stream glints and sparkles up into the tree we're sitting on. The wind has settled into a soft easterly breeze, and high up in the boughs of the Oak, we can smell supper being prepared over at the house. The dog can smell it too, and happily prances around the tractor, waiting for its master to descend.
Everything seems imbued with the wonderfully relaxed feeling that nothing matters, everything is absolutely OK, and nobody's going to give a hoot if we kids hang around in the branches of the tree for ever.
And the tractor rounds the final bend as it trundles towards the shed where it will rest for the night, its wheels grind up a little patch of worn soil, sending a tiny whiff of the stuff into the air, where it hangs, the dying sun exposing the dust's ambivalence, has a half-hearted attempt imitating a cloud, drifts along with the breeze for several feet, and finally drops placidly, languidly to the ground again, happy and replete with its achievement.
Now that's what I call pilm.
And it has a scrabble
value of 8
, in case you're interested...