Protherapeia (pro-ther-a-pei’-a): Preparing one’s audience for what one is about to say through conciliating words. If what is to come will be shocking, the figure is called prodiorthosis.

It has been a long hard winter: piles of snow and freezing cold have kept us indoors, where we have grown contentious and tired of each other. Yesterday I punched your father in the nose for singing Christmas carols out of season. I regret that and will apologize soon. Maybe in March.

I read the weather forecast today. The temperature is supposed to rise above freezing for the first time since November. The snow has abated. The constant wind is slowing. The days are growing longer. Soon, we will be in the throes of Spring. Can anybody remember what wild strawberries smell like, what ramps taste like, what fiddlehead ferns look like?

Thank God for the changing season, though I would be happy with three: Spring, Summer, and Fall. I think I’ll have a beer to hasten the season’s change. Kids: Why don’t you put on your bathing suits and sit by the fire?

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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