How Green is Your Garden?

Sitting in my garden, seeing all the different shades of green, reminds me of the poverty of language to describe our feelings.

The green of the evergreen trees is not the green of the ferns.

The green of the lilies is yet another green, as is the green of the leaves of the flowers.

The green of the algae in the guppy pool is another shade of green, as is the green of the bamboo, or the green of the bushes. There are two more different shades of green on the creeping vines. The green of the house paint is different still.

Scientifically, they can be measured, but there are not enough words in the language to describe all these greens.

This is just a simple example of how our perceptions, feelings, and emotions are more complicated than the words we use to describe them. The next time you are happy or angry, try to describe in words exactly how your body and mind feels — where are the muscles tense, where are they loose, what is the feeling in your skin or the innards of your body and mind? You are soon at a loss for words.

Even great writers and poets take many words to describe what we feel in an instant. Haiku does not even try to describe feelings.

Engagement with art has to come before using words to explain it, share it, or advocate for it.  You don’t understand a work of art until you experience it.

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