Language of Place

“To be native to a place, we must learn to speak its language.”
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

When I came into this world,
        I was not a native to this land.
At the time, I knew no language,
        no words, thoughts, ideas,
                or even concepts of meaning.
        But I grew and listened and learned.

I spent the next 60 plus years
        learning a language that for all intents and purposes
                barely scratches the surface
                        of communication between people,
        much less with the life
                that surrounds us on this earth.

What good is a language
        where people cannot agree
                on common acts of decency?
        Where a human race can know for certain
                that its existence is not in peril
                        of annihilating each other
                                because we can’t communicate.

What good is a language
        that holds no truth
                to be self-evident?
        For all people?

Perhaps I expect too much of a language
        and not enough of those who speak it.
                Perhaps I just haven’t learned
                        the right words.

I have been told
        there is great wisdom
                in listening,
        and in truth, there is great peace in just that.
                Sitting, listening, breathing.
                        Is there a better language?

The true natives of this land,
        the hawk, the deer, the bear,
                all the lives not human,
        know of a simpler way of living, communicating
                and we still don’t know what they are saying.
                        We don’t have a clue.

Perhaps one day
        we’ll learn.    Perhaps.

Has anyone seen a pig fly?

—Paul Causey

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