She knew them by their thick woven cloaks, their hanging hair and beards, and their Anglisc voices: words drumming like apples spilt over wooden boards, round, rich, stirring. Like her father’s words, and her mother’s, and her sister’s. Utterly unlike Onnen’s otter-swift British or the dark liquid gleam of Irish. Hild spoke each to each. Apples to apples, otter to otter, gleam to gleam, though only when her mother wasn’t there.
We commonly speak as though a single 'thing' could 'have' some characteristic. A stone, we say, is 'hard,' 'small,' 'heavy,' 'yellow,' 'dense,' etc. That is how our language is made: 'The stone is hard.' And so on. And that way of talking is good enough for the marketplace: 'That is a new brand.' 'The potatoes are rotten.' 'The container is damaged.' ... And so on. But this way of talking is not good enough in science or epistemology. To think straight, it is advisable to expect all qualities and attributes, adjectives, and so on to refer to at least -two- sets of interactions in time. ...Language continually asserts by the syntax of subject and predicate that 'things' somehow 'have' qualities and attributes. A more precise way of talking would insist that the 'things' are produced, are seen as separate from other 'things,' and are made 'real' by their internal relations and by their behaviour in relationship with other things and with the speaker. It is necessary to be quite clear about the universal truth that whatever 'things' may be in their pleromatic and thingish world, they can only enter the world of communication and meaning by their names, their qualities and their attributes (i.e., by reports of their internal and external relations and interactions).
I mutter and mutter and no one to listen. I speak my words in Japanese and my daughter will not hear them. The words that come from our ears, our mouths, they collide in the space between us."Obachan, please! I wish you would stop that. Is it too much to ask for some peace and quiet? You do this on purpose, don’t you? Don’t you! I just want some peace. Just stop! Please, just stop.""Gomennasai. Waruine, Obachan wa. Solly. Solly."Ha! Keiko, there is method in my madness. I could stand on my head and quote Shakespeare until I had a nosebleed, but to no avail, no one hears my language. So I sit and say the words and will, until the wind or I shall die. Someone, something must stand against this wind and I will. I am.
Reachable, near and not lost, there remained in the midst of the losses this one thing: language. It, the language, remained, not lost, yes, in spite of everything. But it had to pass through its own answerlessness, pass through frightful muting, pass through the thousand darknesses of deathbringing speech. It passed through and gave back no words for that which happened; yet it passed through this happening. Passed through and could come to light again, “enriched” by all this.
In a society so estranged from animals as ours, we often fail to credit them with any form of language. If we do, it comes under the heading of communication rather than speech. And yet, the great silence we have imposed on the rest of life contains innumerable forms of expression. Where does our own language come from but this unfathomed store that characterizes innumerable species? We are now more than halfway removed from what the unwritten word meant to our ancestors, who believed in the original, primal word behind all manifestations of the spirit. You sang because you were answered. The answers come from life around you. Prayers, chants, and songs were also responses to the elements, to the wind, the sun and stars, the Great Mystery behind them. Life on earth springs from a collateral magic that we rarely consult. We avoid the unknown as if we were afraid that contact would lower our sense of self-esteem.