Language of the imagination
“ ‘They are all beasts of burden in a sense,’ Thoreau once remarked of animals, ‘made to carry some portion of our thoughts.’ Animals are the old language of the imagination; one of the ten thousand tragedies of their disappearance would be a silencing of this speech.” ― Rebecca Solnit
I’m not sure I understand this quote, but I do find it intriguing. It reminded me of how children are almost universally drawn to animals, and perhaps this is due, in part, to the child’s incomplete grasp of language. Children might feel a kinship with animals based on having to live concurrently in two worlds; one of their own, which makes perfect sense to them, and one belonging to adults, which must surely be unfathomable.
Almost all of us have had the experience of what felt distinctly like a wordless conversation with an animal, and for some of us, it may be a rather common occurrence. Perhaps we converse with animals in a language of the imagination, one we have almost — but not quite — forgotten.
One year ago today