|March is melting season|
Photo by J. Harrington
If we were in Scotland, snow melt season would be the time for us to look for these waters:
...a caochan, for instance, is “a slender moor-stream obscured by vegetation such that it is virtually hidden from sight”, while a feadan is “a small stream running from a moorland loch”, and a fèith is “a fine vein-like watercourse running through peat, often dry in the summer”....We aren't aware of that many different terms in the U.S. for different water courses, nor do we know of a compendium like Robert Macfarlane's Landmarks, from which the preceding quote is extracted. There is, of course, Home Ground, edited by the inimitable Barry Lopez. We've been working for some time to identify our "water words" in their Home Ground. We're up to and into the letter "P" and have yet to find anything as lyrical as a feadan. Perhaps the lyrical words are hiding in the "R's" (rills) and "S's" (streams).
|wetland, marsh, slough, ...|
Photo by J. Harrington
If we had many more words to describe specific landmarks in each of our neighborhoods, would that help or harm our ability to communicate? We're thinking here about the Linnaean binomial nomenclature system, developed to limit confusion related to the same flora or fauna having different common names in different locales, although even that has somewhat different rules for fauna and flora. We've been tripping over the Families, Genus and species in aquatic entomology as we try to sort out our dry flies and nymphs and we continue to find our interest in learning phenology and local plants gets sidetracked by the need to acquire whole new vocabularies. Perhaps our Paleolithic ancestors were better off using a variety of grunts. Perhaps we need to learn to see the world in a grain of sand and discover what that does for our vocabulary.
Auguries of Innocence
To see a World in a Grain of SandAnd a Heaven in a Wild FlowerHold Infinity in the palm of your handAnd Eternity in an hourA Robin Red breast in a CagePuts all Heaven in a RageA Dove house filld with Doves & PigeonsShudders Hell thr' all its regionsA dog starvd at his Masters GatePredicts the ruin of the StateA Horse misusd upon the RoadCalls to Heaven for Human bloodEach outcry of the hunted HareA fibre from the Brain does tearA Skylark wounded in the wingA Cherubim does cease to singThe Game Cock clipd & armd for fightDoes the Rising Sun affrightEvery Wolfs & Lions howlRaises from Hell a Human SoulThe wild deer, wandring here & thereKeeps the Human Soul from CareThe Lamb misusd breeds Public StrifeAnd yet forgives the Butchers knifeThe Bat that flits at close of EveHas left the Brain that wont BelieveThe Owl that calls upon the NightSpeaks the Unbelievers frightHe who shall hurt the little WrenShall never be belovd by MenHe who the Ox to wrath has movdShall never be by Woman lovdThe wanton Boy that kills the FlyShall feel the Spiders enmityHe who torments the Chafers SpriteWeaves a Bower in endless NightThe Catterpiller on the LeafRepeats to thee thy Mothers griefKill not the Moth nor ButterflyFor the Last Judgment draweth nighHe who shall train the Horse to WarShall never pass the Polar BarThe Beggars Dog & Widows CatFeed them & thou wilt grow fatThe Gnat that sings his Summers SongPoison gets from Slanders tongueThe poison of the Snake & NewtIs the sweat of Envys FootThe poison of the Honey BeeIs the Artists JealousyThe Princes Robes & Beggars RagsAre Toadstools on the Misers BagsA Truth thats told with bad intentBeats all the Lies you can inventIt is right it should be soMan was made for Joy & WoeAnd when this we rightly knowThro the World we safely goJoy & Woe are woven fineA Clothing for the soul divineUnder every grief & pineRuns a joy with silken twineThe Babe is more than swadling BandsThroughout all these Human LandsTools were made & Born were handsEvery Farmer UnderstandsEvery Tear from Every EyeBecomes a Babe in EternityThis is caught by Females brightAnd returnd to its own delightThe Bleat the Bark Bellow & RoarAre Waves that Beat on Heavens ShoreThe Babe that weeps the Rod beneathWrites Revenge in realms of DeathThe Beggars Rags fluttering in AirDoes to Rags the Heavens tearThe Soldier armd with Sword & GunPalsied strikes the Summers SunThe poor Mans Farthing is worth moreThan all the Gold on Africs ShoreOne Mite wrung from the Labrers handsShall buy & sell the Misers LandsOr if protected from on highDoes that whole Nation sell & buyHe who mocks the Infants FaithShall be mockd in Age & DeathHe who shall teach the Child to DoubtThe rotting Grave shall neer get outHe who respects the Infants faithTriumphs over Hell & DeathThe Childs Toys & the Old Mans ReasonsAre the Fruits of the Two seasonsThe Questioner who sits so slyShall never know how to ReplyHe who replies to words of DoubtDoth put the Light of Knowledge outThe Strongest Poison ever knownCame from Caesars Laurel CrownNought can Deform the Human RaceLike to the Armours iron braceWhen Gold & Gems adorn the PlowTo peaceful Arts shall Envy BowA Riddle or the Crickets CryIs to Doubt a fit ReplyThe Emmets Inch & Eagles MileMake Lame Philosophy to smileHe who Doubts from what he seesWill neer Believe do what you PleaseIf the Sun & Moon should DoubtTheyd immediately Go outTo be in a Passion you Good may DoBut no Good if a Passion is in youThe Whore & Gambler by the StateLicencd build that Nations FateThe Harlots cry from Street to StreetShall weave Old Englands winding SheetThe Winners Shout the Losers CurseDance before dead Englands HearseEvery Night & every MornSome to Misery are BornEvery Morn and every NightSome are Born to sweet delightSome are Born to sweet delightSome are Born to Endless NightWe are led to Believe a LieWhen we see not Thro the EyeWhich was Born in a Night to perish in a NightWhen the Soul Slept in Beams of LightGod Appears & God is LightTo those poor Souls who dwell in NightBut does a Human Form DisplayTo those who Dwell in Realms of day
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Please be kind to each other while you can.