No, I’m not on the wrong bit of the board.
This evening’s In Tune (R3, 1700, relevant bit round about 1830 give or take) made me prick up my ears when I heard some woman say ‘rewilding minds’. ’ What fresh bollockry is this?’, I asked meself.
Only it wasn’t.
The woman was Jackie Morris who, in collaboration with Robert MacFarlane, has published The Lost Words and The Lost Spells. I haven’t seen hard copy of either, but they might be of interest to any of you with small persons in your lives.
What she had to say was interesting. So many words naming and describing the natural world are disappearing from children’s vocabularies. She gave the example of a class of thirty-odd primary school children being asked what a wren was. None of them volunteered an answer (which is, of course, ‘a noisy, stroppy nuisance; the bottle-covey of the British hedgerow’*). Anyway, her argument seemed to be that returning these words to children and enabling them to describe and express their response to their wider environment might be a means in the end of preserving that environment.
My feeling is, takes too long and is too little, too late; but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing. Poor things: so much tech and so little magic in their monitored, circumscribed, sensorily deprived lives.
*‘Tiny, inch-long, ardent feathered mouse’ is also available