The Land Makes Language that Makes the Land


I recently discovered a book that I have waited and waited – lacking the scholarship, craft, and patience myself to write such a thing – for some pugnacious and insightful soul to write. A book on reclaiming language as a folk art, as an engine of perception, as a cord connecting us to our ancestral selves, and as a guide back to the land.

It’s called Language Making Nature, by David Lukas, an author of many other books and magazine articles, including birding field guides, but most importantly a passionate naturalist himself.

To celebrate the occasion, a small group of like-minded friends and I are meeting up and reading it aloud chapter-by-chapter (most chapters are very small, a few paragraphs to a couple of pages long), and afterwards experimenting together with the ideas by creating new language together through the written and spoken word.


The chapter titles (on the yellow sticky notes in the image below), present an excellent overview of the core issues that have concerned me the most in my explorations of animist and nature-based language, and present a few new ones.


Keith Basso’s Wisdom Sits in Places, a book close to my heart, apparently played a chief role in inspiring the author down this road.

I heartily encourage you to check out David Lukas’ book – as our book group has begun to meet, it has already proven a sure guide through this renaissance of an ecstatic language of the land.


Written by Willem