The Summer has yet to offer much opportunity for reflection but there has been more inspiring encounters on our Hearth Tour than we’ve cared to shake a stick at.
This months inspiration comes from an excerpt from David Abram’s ‘Becoming Animal’; which is proving an excellent accompaniment on our working explorations. Enjoy…
‘Writing is a curious endeavour, swerving from moments of splendid delirium into others of stunned puzzlement and from there into stretches of calm, focused craft. The writing down of words is a relatively recent practice for the human animal. we two-leggeds have long been creatures of language, of course, but verbal language lived first in the shaped breath of utterance, it laughed and stuttered on the tongue long before it lay down on the page, and still longer before it arrayed itself in rows across the glowing screen.
While persons brought up within literate culture often speak about the natural world, indigenous, oral peoples sometimes speak directly to that world, acknowledging certain animals, plants, and even landforms as expressive subjects with whom they might find themselves in conversation. Obviously these other beings do not speak with a human tongue, they do not speak in words. They may speak in song, like many birds, or in rhythm, lie the crickets and the ocean waves. They may speak a language of movements and gestures, or articulate themselves in shifting shadows. Among many native peoples, such forms of expressive speech are assumed to be as communicative in their own way, as the more verbal discourse of our species (which after all can be thought of as a kind of vocal gesticulation, or even as a sort of singing). Language for traditionally oral peoples, is not a specifically human possession, but is a property of the animate earth, in which we humans participate.
Oral language gusts through us- our sounded phrases borne by the same air that nourishes the cedars and swells the cumulus clouds. Laid out and immobilised on the flat surface, our words tend to forget that they are sustained by this windswept earth; they begin to imagine that their primary task is to provide a representation of the world (as though they were outside of, and not really part of, this world). Nonetheless, the power of language remains, first and foremost, a way of singing oneself into contact with others and the cosmos- a way of bridging the silence between oneself and another person, or a startled black bear, or the crescent moon soaring like a billowed sail above the roof.
Whether sounded on the tongue, printed on the page, or shimmering on the screen, language’s primary gift is not to re-present the world around us, but to call ourselves into the vital presence of that world- and into deep and attentive presence with one another.’
Intonation as Invocation; sounds quite reverential to me. Lovely.