> jumping into life.

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The land is a language I have only just remembered how to read, the furl and bough of green things a vocabulary sure as prophesy or French. This is, perhaps, why I love them so: the syntax of chaparral and mountianside is not so different than the grammar of plain words.

Like any language, I gain fluency only in practice. When I have been away from the woods for too long, my understanding falters and my translations stumble. Which juniper is this, and how can I tell?

There was a once Costa Rica when the subjuntivo clicked and I spoke in confident, fluid uncertainty all day. Once I could tell my willows from fifty paces, in winter. Both these knowledges are now gone from me, but could with practice be returned.

All language students know that immersion is the best way to learn. It has been argued that we see in color so that we can differentiate between ripe fruit and sour; certainly our ancestors knew every plant and how it grew, if only to keep their bellies full. I'm looking forward this summer to time for long study of a dialect I used to know, that I may speak more clearly of my home.