“A man must be a damned fool, who can’t spell a word more than one way.” ~ Nyrum Reynolds **
Even tucked into a thicket of dense, interwoven phrases, the word stood out. Spotting it, I circled back for another look, surprised by what I took to be an obvious misspelling.
It was March, 2009, and the blogger known as Aubrey was considering a bit of milkweed fluff.
Walking to work, I saw a very peculiar thing on the sidewalk. Its color was soft and meek: a whimsical fluff, a piece of delicate detritus which had somehow lost its way and now lay defenseless on the granite causeway.
The word that captured my attention was detritus. I’d lived for several decades knowing it as detrius, so my initial inclination was to believe that Aubrey had misspelled it. Clearly, each of us was using it properly, and our spellings were close, but the different spellings meant different pronunciations — perhaps even different words.
I’d been reading Aubrey long enough to recognize her writing skills and admire her attention to detail, so a little exploration seemed in order. I didn’t expect to be the one who was wrong, but I was open to the possibility.