Forgotten Language

Once I spoke the language of the flowers,

Once I understood each word the caterpillar said,

Once I smiled in secret at the gossip of the starlings,

And shared a conversation with the housefly

in my bed.

Once I heard and answered all the questions

of the crickets,

And joined the crying of each falling dying

flake of snow,

Once I spoke the language of the flowers….

How did it go?

How did it go?

[Shel Silverstein, Forgotten Language, Where the Sidewalk Ends; New York: HarperCollins, 1974, p. 149]

I don’t know if it’s so much forgetting the languages as it is forgetting that each form of life¬†has its own life and language. It’s one of the reasons I love spending time in the garden and walking in woods, on beaches, and down the familiar streets of this town I call home: my selfish deafness to the languages of non-human life is lifted, if just for a few minutes.

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