Peter Berger, the sociologist, wrote: “The reality of the social world hangs on the thin thread of conversation.”
One-on-one and nation-to-nation we measure each other, judge each other and choose to abide with each other (or not) by how we speak to and about each other.
Conversation is more than what we casually do just between us. Our words grow wings, and can jet around the world at the speed of sound. (Or if we are using fiber optics, at the speed of light.)
It is like the famous Norman Rockwell painting of gossiping. Only today, such conversation is aided by the instantaneous conveniences of twitter, facebook, and the dozens of other feeds that constantly keep us connected, whether we are happy about it or not.
That in and of itself is enough to tempt some of us to take a vow of silence (or impose that vow on others!).
What would the world look like if we could color-code the threads of conversations and track them as they coursed across the atmosphere?
All of which makes me see that we are also held in close communion with nature by a thin thread of conversation.
This conversation is equally complex. It possesses both the social element of human language, in which we reveal and reinforce our attitudes and relationships toward nature. What language do we use? Do we call it: nature, creation, resources, property, earth, land, dirt, soil, humus, loam, commodities, wilderness, weeds, wasteland, swamps, bogs, wetlands, peat, fuel, woods, timber, etc. Each carries its own values and valence.
And how we speak about nature affects how we treat it and value it, price it, ignore it or protect it.
Which is no doubt why the Torah tells us that in pursuing the divine act of bringing the physical world into existence, God began with the most human act of all: “And God said:”