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Back in the 1870s, naturalist and explorer John Muir said, "One day's exposure to mountains is better than cartloads of books." Today, we might update his words for our time: "One day's exposure to mountains is better than heaps of video games and countless episodes of TV shows."

In this week's A.Word.A.Day, we'll offer you exposure to words for various features of our planet: mountains, glaciers, and more. So in the coming year pull the plug on those artificial electronic devices, and plug in to the greatest of all reality shows: nature.

moulin (MOO-lan) noun

A nearly vertical, cylindrical shaft or cavity worn in a glacier, carved by melted surface water falling through a crack in the ice.

[From French moulin (mill), from Latin molinum. The name refers to the swirling motion of water falling down the hole and the accompanying noise.]

Moulin Rouge, the famous Paris cabaret, has nothing to do with ice. A glacier wouldn't last long in a hot place like that. Rather, a large red windmill on its roof gives it its name.

-Anu Garg (words AT wordsmith.org)

"The blue of a moulin is one of the purest and most unearthly colors on the planet."
Jon Carroll; The Cold Monster At My Feet; San Francisco Chronicle; Sep 4, 1991.


We perceive when love begins and when it declines by our embarrassment when alone together. -Jean de la Bruyere, essayist and moralist (1645-1696)

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