Is a Leaf Like a Noun

Is a Leaf Like a Noun, Flowing like a Verb?

language“Elements of landscape language are like parts of speech, each with separate functions and associations. Flowing, like a verb, is a pattern of events expressed in both water and path. Water and path, like nouns, are action’s agents and objects; like adjectives or adverbs, their qualities of wetness or breadth extend meaning. Elements do not exist in isolation, but rather combine in significant ways, like words in a phrase, clause, or sentence, to make a tree, fountain, street, or a larger, more complex landscape story — garden, town or forest. Every landscape feature, such as a mountain, embodies at least one complete expression — its own formation. Describing the elements is like looking at landscape — scanning the scene, then successively zooming in and out on significant details, letting the context blur but keeping it always in view.”

– from The Language of Landscape by Anne Whiston Spirn