I’ve never been this far north before and although we’ve come during a particularly charmed summer season, I’m in awe at the beautiful, seemingly delicate plants that grow here. Even in this inhospitable place on the edge of a cliff that is mostly battered by wind and rain or salted sea water, these plants thrive. Tiny birds (twite?) whip across the sky like bonfire ashes and I can’t imagine how such fragile-looking creatures survive these summers, nevermind winters.
I’m also conscious that I don’t know the names of a lot of birds and plants yet (although I’m learning) and it’s made me wonder if I have the ‘right’ to write about nature in this way. Shouldn’t I be exact and correct when sharing these experiences? I’ve definitely heard this argument put forward in the past and I can understand that POV. I suppose the flip-side is that a lot of people who have never had an upbringing or education where they would have been taught these things (and maybe it is a class thing – certain literary novels will contain a lot of nature) have to kind of fumble their way through. Does that make their experiences any less enjoyable, or interesting to read about? I would say no. Perhaps I would go so far as to argue that by excluding people from conversations about nature because they don’t always get it right is exactly the kind of thing that alienates people from attempting to have any sort of connection and experience, which in turn might mean they have less of an interest in things such as environmental issues as it’s seen as something belonging to an elitist few. I doubt nature gives a fuck if I call an oak an oak or anything else – I know in my bones she doesn’t. What matters is making that unique individual connection – and that is something so deep within our psyche that language becomes irrelevant.