This essay is the third about language. Before writing this one, I reviewed the previous two. Those walks focused on the written and spoken with various aspects of linguistics. I also touched on other languages, such as the visual arts, music, body language, math, DNA, and geology, as well as languages of the sea and wind. But the readers led me to expand those thoughts because language is more than the previous two beach walk essays! Thank you, readers, for initiating these thoughts.
Click the video above for 2 minutes of background waves while reading.
I like to walk on the beach. It is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.
As I approach the waterline, I hear the waves and the passing wind. At the time of this writing, I recently posted volume 2 about language. Because of the wonderful comments, I knew volume 3 was in order. Not solely through reader comments, but also by expanding the topic through my words.
Thinking about the big picture, I see language as complex, all-encompassing, intimate, and a beautiful mystery.
Looking out to sea, I spot a few dolphins passing by. I know they communicate with each other in Dolphinese. While many animals communicate, there is no evidence of any organism communicating to the extent and depth of humans. I say this not to downplay their communication, but to promote what language does in our lives.
Language is a tool for communicating ideas, emotions, stories, and information – and we do this in many ways. After all, language is more than words and phrases.
Language is something that keeps us together and drives us apart. In that sense, language seems to be like a double-edged sword.
I think back to humans and the joy of ballroom dance. Dance uses the language of music to express a message through movements. Some are simple, but others display the music rhythm. Other dancers add a layer of appreciation for each other – even love.
Thinking about love leads me to the language of love. That language is difficult to describe and is different for everyone. Love as a language involves words, actions, presence, touch, thoughts, and probably more – yet it has a way of being felt through the entire body. No wonder a broken heart requires time to heal.
I think about the many languages of nature. The cyclic seasons from trumpeting to maintaining, to decline and slumber – the croaking of frogs, the rustling leaves, the many chirps of birds, and the relationship between the frequency of cricket chirps and temperature. All for a reason. All delivering a message. All are languages.
I think about migrating birds, dogs marking a territory, flowers saying “look here” to insects through their color and scent, and many life forms using pheromones to attract mates. All for a reason. All delivering a message. All are languages.
I think about messages moving around my body – nerve messages go from the environment about the world around me to the brain and spinal cord, as well as the messages going to a specific location to initiate a response.
Similarly, I think about blood carrying chemical messengers called hormones from their production location to where they cause a detailed response. Nerve messages and hormones are for a reason. Suddenly I think of medicines acting similarly. All deliver a message. All are languages.
I think about ecology as the interaction between all living things with each other and the nonliving environment – and that involves communication. The environment expresses itself in a language. Life responds in its way. After all, life has a way of reacting to changes in temperature, light, and more. All for a reason. All delivering a message. All are languages.
I think about how our senses are initiators in translating languages in nature so we can apply meaning to that language. Our senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch allow us to detect messages that nerves send to the brain so it can interpret the languages of nature – therefore connecting us to our surroundings.
I suddenly stop – look at the sea and the sky. I realize science is interpreting the language of nature through the physical laws and relationships we have learned through science. Nature is everywhere, and it constantly delivers a message through its language – from the babbling stream to the fierce thunderstorm – from a mountaintop to the green meadow to this beach – from the glorious colors of autumn through the other seasons to return to autumn. Nature must have countless languages!
The sky leads me to something bigger – the language of the universe. Our Earth, Sun, and Moon – the universe with its stars and galaxies – and we humans use satellites to capture deep space attempting to detect and learn the language so we can interpret its message.
I think about the universal languages of humanity – such as smiles, food, music, and art – I’ve already written about them, but the way they cross-cultural boundaries impresses me.
As I end this walk, I realize language is like the sea and outer space – much deeper than most of us realize. Yes, language has given me three essays – but there are only a few steps into a complex world. Language is another reason why I like to walk on this beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.
See what other bloggers have posted about Language
- Language (first beach walk essay)
- Language v2 (beach walk essay)
- The Language of Love (a poem)
- Instant Language (a photo essay)
- My Love Language (an essay)
Next Post: Gibberish – Wednesday 11th January @ 1 AM (Eastern US