The parable of the parabola

This is the story of a word who crossed the water and lost her twin. Once, everywhere they traveled, they shared a name, in Sweden, Germany, Italy, Portugal, France and Spain. Their image was reflected in the Eiffel Tower, the Arch of Constantine, the Rua Augusta Arch and the Brandenburg Gate. In the “Old World,” Parabola/parábola/parabole/Parabel continued to excel in science and letters, tracing a high and storied path that, with its focus, reached an apex, creating reflection on every side. No one ever told her she couldn’t be good at both language and math.
Meanwhile, poor Parable found herself confined to Sunday sermons in English-speaking lands. Her only reach was the height of rhetoric, her focus was simple, reflections purely spiritual. She seemed to have lost her sense of directrix and equanimity. She often found herself gazing reflectively at rainbows, arched bridges, satellite dishes, and domed ceilings, looking for her lost half.
Parable’s nadir came when she took a lonely picnic lunch to the park at Gateway Arch. For a while, she watched children playing soccer and softball, then she split her hardboiled egg on an axis and peeled it. She bought a snow cone and strolled along the riverside, glancing at the arch reflected in the river. Suddenly, she noticed her own reflection. Leaning close, she gazed into the lens of her own eye. She finally recognized the parabola that had been inside her all along.

Those who have eyes, let them see.

Next: Parable meets her cousins Oval and Hyperbole.

Today’s parable
traces a sharp story arc
to fall on deaf ears.

(This is the kind of thing I think about during the music in church. Why does English have different words for parable and parabola when other languages don’t?)

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