Language Making Nature: Week 3

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And our adventure goes on! With three new chapters this week, our book group discussing David Lukas’ Language Making Nature continues to generate deeply meaningful conversations.

This week we read aloud and discussed the chapters Blossoming Language, Wisdom Sits in Places, Bibliography, and Patterns in Nature.

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We had an extensive conversation about when artistic creations feel too “on-the-nose” (an incredibly useful expression meaning too obvious, too linear, too preachy, lacking nuance), and how this kind of language play can take appropriative, saccharine side-routes into “nature-ish” language without a meaningful core [a good example: all those pseudo-native ‘Camp Ya-ya-wah-nah’ summer camp names clutching after something meaningful objectified in another culture without any sense of courtesy or approach to the depth of that culture or its members].

Worrying about this too much can also paralyze you. So, pick your poison. I suppose you can use this lens of “does this feel too on-the-nose” as a way to reflect after the fact on why a newly coined word or expression doesn’t seem to quite capture what you want.

The chapter on Patterns in Nature inspired a lot of reflection on the over-abundance of the patterns, as nature lovers, trackers, and parents, that we see that we wish we had a word for. It provided a good opportunity to realize that we can have a word for it – make one! Play on!

Written by Willem