New Moon No. 5, Spring


Shenandoah National Park

“Every language is a world. Without translation, we would inhabit parishes bordering on silence.”
George Steiner

Heya & happy spring!
Maybe you didn’t notice the lack of Lumen Letters in your life over the past moon cycle or two. Perhaps you were feeling the need to nest just as much as I was. Rather than fight the natural draw I felt to hibernate from the external world during the late winter months, I listened to the seasons within my body and my body of work, which led to Lumen Letters also joining me in my hibernating phase. Seeing that Lumen Letters is a holistic health and wellness newsletter, it seemed pretty hypocritical for me to push through the painstakingly clear signs that I was not going to honor my own health and wellness by creating and sharing content in an uninspired state. So, I hibernated…hard. Now, I’m taking my cues from the budding ripeness of the spring season, slowly awakening from my deep rest of winter to meet spring with a fresh, renewed sense of self. And here I am, back with you, feeling yet again inspired to curate, write, and create!

Foreign languages have always piqued my interest, as have the rich spectrum of emotions available to us as human beings. So when I can’t seem to find just the right word or arrangement of words to express how I’m feeling, well, that’s usually when the frustration sets in and the language of my body takes form through dancing. Luckily, there are plenty of other languages with broader vocabularies to describe these particularly unique emotions I come across from time to time. Dr. Tim Lomas’s Positive Lexicography Project is an ever-evolving index of these ‘untranslatable’ words focused on emotions, using the world’s languages to encourage all of us, regardless of our native tongue, to explore our internal landscape through the lens of a more nuanced, emotionally descriptive vocabulary.  

Akin to our internal landscape of emotions, the body of our landscape here on planet Earth requires a breadth of descriptive language far more intricate than the blasé overgeneralization of words such as hill, valley, or stream.

When Oxford University Press deletes words from their dictionary like acorn, dandelion, and pasture to replace them with words like blog, broadband, and voice-mail, it’s clear we’re attempting to replace the natural world with a technology driven, artificial one. For some, this may seem like an obvious improvement in our interaction with the world we live in. I, however, am most definitely not one of those people. I’m all for rewilding our language and preserving what some would now call the “archaic” notions of the natural world; even expanding on these notions by continuing to create and define the lexicon of our landscape. Robert MacFarlane is doing just this, and you can learn more about this fascinating body of work in his Guardian writings on the pursuit of word-hoarding in order to save the endangered species of exquisite landscape language. He has been collecting an array of words from various regions of the world, working towards rewilding our landscape language through the preservation and expansion of this unique, undervalued vocabulary. A dense read, but essential in understanding the complexity of a language that originates from a deeply connected sense of awareness and interaction with our landscape that is on a devastating decline in the rise of the technological age.


Who doesn't love a good Shel Silverstein poem, especially when it poses reflection on the very sentiments shared in BODY & MIND. Language is so much more than our cognitive mapping and biomechanical movements of the mouth and throat. Language is communication in all of it's exquisitely myriad forms. 

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

Let your language grow - 
As you unearth the range of experience,
That allots itself to you,
With the promise of possibility,
On a new moon,
In a new season.

Luminous love,

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