It English, the Earth Language, word flow into and complete each other. A weep thickens to a drop, closed off at the front of the mouth with a ‘p’, and then, instead of flowing, creates a form of space that carries it: a drop, in which it remains a drop, drops within it as an ongoing action (a drop), and then, at the bottom of the drop the drop is over. It dissolves simultaneously from shape, space and motion to become a splash and through that becomes the open, dropless form of a weep: a wet, with it’s flattened lips and open ‘t’. It is an elongated and independent weep that reverses its action (and its placement in the mouth) as it falls.

When a drop touches water with enough energy, its drop quickly reforms as a drop again, even after the original has joined the wet. When that second drop falls, only the wet remains.

Similarly, the l-f of “life” reverse when it is pressed into the f-l of a float, a flutter, a wing, a flat in the mouth, and in that flat form is a leaf: life itself, leafing out, or, rather, living. A wet.

Drops of Life

Of this life, we say it is in “full leaf”, or “the leaves are full”. Both “full leaf” and “leafing out”, however, are transitory terms, like drops that create a drop from their shape, pass through dropping (the air that is called a draught) as a draught (a drop) you pour down your throat to wet your whistle. They are transitory. The “out” of “leafing out” provides no sequential information to “leafing”. “Leafing” is always out-wards. Instead, that “out” is a condition of space. “The flowers are out”, we say, or “the cows are out.” It is this “out”-ness that is a leaf when life enters it and reshapes space. “The flowers are out” means that “out” is a flower. There is no “outside.”

When a stem flowers, it fills the space out of it with the flowering it makes out of itself.

“Out” isn’t a direction. It is “from”, in the sense of a result in place, otherwise called a metamorphoses. In Earth Language, we would say “opening”.

Rhodendendron Blossoms Opening (Into Themselves)

Interestingly enough, the flowering comes from within, just as the flower opens “out” into itself. Then, the “in” has become “out”, not in the sense of one passing into the other, but of both being the same state at different intensities in a continuum. These are the interlocked reversals of Earth Language. In the same way, to speak the word ‘out’ one forms a ball of sound, narrows the lips to an ‘o’ to turn it into a flow, then pushes it out, first with the cheeks and then with the tongue’s ‘t’, and there it is, on the move, out.

The Tip of a Serviceberry Speaking Vapour on the Late January Morning. Your tongue is the same.

The word is the sound and shape of the whole movement of its creation at once.

In this sense, “out” is a giving forth, just as a drop, ending on a ‘p’ from the lips instead of a ‘t’ from the tongue is a “pop”, or “”poppy”, which pops, or as we say, “pops out,” and there it is. This is not onomotopoeia, the creation of words like “splash” out of sound, but kinetic, the creation of words in the physical choreography and language of the mouth as it dances the energy of the objects it refers to in the world. What is in the mouth is out of it. What is in the world is doubled in the mouth.

Lake Lenore Rock Shelter Mouth, Grand Coulee

The difference here between “out” and “pop” is one of speed and intent, all perfectly delineated by the mouth. The feelings flowing out of these words are created physically, not just in the mind and its memories but also in the body speaking mouth to ear and eye to other bodies, and to the earth. Perhaps the most basic of these forms is ‘shape’. It is the energy that is one’s entire life, that one fills. It is one’s scope. It is also something that is read in the world.

Cedars at Dusk, Rose-Swanson Mountain

It is the energy of holding the flowing substance that is life itself and also, because this is a physical world, the vessel that physically embodies the substance. What’s more, because this energy is a flowing substance, we call it “the shape of things to come.” “Fate,” in other words.

The Conconully Hills in the Sinlahekin. You can read your future here. And your past.

Landscape are mindscapes.

By reading a shape — by realizing it —one can read the potential it contains. In the present, one’s scope is a shallow dish. The energy of shaping pours out of it without form. When caught, it makes a shape and shapes you.

Shell: the shape that, shaped, shapes.

As I pointed out the other week, (Here: it is a form of a scar, a scrape, that which is cut, in the specific sense of the space that a cut leaves and which then fills, with sand perhaps, or water, or leaves, or just the tide.

A Shallow Shape


A shallow shape is a shell, an empty space ready to hold material by its shape’s shaping, or one from which material has been removed, leaving only its absence and the shape that can refill it, in the way a word spoken is reformed by the ear. Both can be at play at once. A shell transfers its formative scrape into the act of removing something from a shape (a pea from a pod, or an oyster from its enclosing bone, for example) to make the scrape into a shell and not just a scrap. Something active, in other words: an energy in physical form.

Mussell Shell at Okanagan Lake

It is a “skull”, a shell of bone that holds the mind and can fill or empty of life or thought. 

Or a drinking glass on a stem (spine). Your choice.

A verbal toast when drinking, in which a shell (a cup, let’s say) is held up to be filled with life, is “Skold!” Literally, it is “skull”. Hence, to say skull (a dead thing) while drinking means “life!” A contemporary translation would be “to your health!” Another would be “In memory of your ancestors living on in you and past you into the future!” That is a fine scope.

The action of using a skull at the end of a beam of wood (an oar) to cup water and move a boat forward is called “to scull.” The act of filling the mind (will) becomes connected to the act of manipulation (the energy of the hand), to unite them as movement, and to ride the flow of the repetitions across time.


To ride the wave of fate well takes some skill.

A form of shell suitable for quick filling is a scoop. So is the quick action of filling. “What a scoop!” we say, when we’re sharp enough of tongue and ear to catch a story right from under everyone’s nose.

The measure of fate (a scoop), within a skull shape or mind-shape, is a scape. It is what fills a shell or skull in the action of skolding. It is the portion of a land, city or ocean held in the mind, and is one’s measure (or fate, or scoop). “Mindscape,” we say, “cityscape” and “wordscape”. It is a very large shape holding disparate material (such as houses, roads, trees, fields, sky and water) together, and indicates that part of the world that matches an individual’s attention or region of care or regard. “Landscape” painting represents both this energy and the regard that creates the boundaries or shell that holds it.

Landscape in the Palouse

A shell suitable for holding material at rest is a cup. It is the act of enclosing an unenclosed material and giving it form.

A Blue Mud Dauber in a Mariposa Lily’s Cup

Seeds will come in the flower’s dry and rattling skull.

Shape is the form that a cup gives to an unformed material that has energy without form. It is the action of forming given forth by the shape or given to an unformed mass by hand or mouth or thought. We shape words that shape our perception of the world in this way, as they flow back and forth between body and world and back and through.

Shapes in Gardom Lake
Tófufoss (Tuff Falls) Shaped and Shaping
Bessastaðaá River, East Iceland

I had fun. I hope you did, too.

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