Monday, September 20, 2010

Earth Speaks Its Secrets in Textures

Earth has secrets to reveal, but you have to know how to read the signs. The language of nature doesn't fit into human text. It uses countless varieties of texture to express the subtle, shifting dialect of the land, water, sun and wind. Wisps of fog and thunderheads describe the journey of the wind. A shimmering palette of colors relate witty repartee between water, surrounding hills, plants and light. The grain of tree bark narrates decades of encounters with storms and heat, insects and animals.

The miracle of Earth's language is that each being can only understand what is being said through a one-to-one relationship. Nature doesn't make universal pronouncements. That would be too simple-minded and disconnected from the immediate needs of billions of humans, trillions of birds, mammals, snakes, lizards, flies, trees, grasses and flowers. Instead, Earth's language—the gurgling of a brook, the arc of a branch, or the redness of a berry—simultaneously says what is relevant to the bird, bug or bear that is engaging it at any given moment.

So, the next time you walk out your door, even if you're in Manhattan, notice the textures you encounter. What patterns of light and shadow are the trees casting on the ground? How are the ridges and valleys forming a visual brail in the sky? Sense the expansion and contraction of space as your animal body passes down streets, through doorways into rooms. Ignore the story your mind spins. With your whole being, listen to what is being said. At first, it may make no sense. In time, you can open beyond human words and understand the Earth's poetic song.


  1. Reminds me of experiences I had while on hallucinogens many, many years ago. No, I'm not kidding this time. Even just seeing a rock and grokking all the countless forces and influences that shaped its current form was quite a dialogue. Thanks for expressing this so eloquently, Tony.

  2. Love this post Tony...texture is a language I converse best in and the earth responds in abundant dialogue, particularly the rocks!

  3. Beautiful, Tony. Yes, we don't have to understand all the languages around us to appreciate them. It is a lovely song, and artistic expression.

  4. I will be paying even more attention to texture now, watching, listening, for its language and its expression of interconnectedness. Tony, you always help me to see and understand more and become more literate about the natural world. A little something for you at Windspirit Girl: