Landscape language

Hauraki Plain or the Ramsar listed Kopuatai Peat Dome?

Hauraki Plain or the Ramsar listed Kopuatai Peat Dome?

The language we overlay on to our surroundings reveal our cultural biases. The words assigned to landforms describe positive and negative states of being.

Mountains. Reaching the pinnacle of success. Somehow reliability, trustworthiness and political savvy are linked to the very top: a shirt making company or real estate agency both branded “Summit”. A meeting of important heads.

Plain-speaking. Plain plains.

Water. When it’s moving or unconstrained it’s a water body. We imbue it with life both abstract and spiritual. An ocean of possibilities. A stream of consciousness. Still water becomes a mirror.

Wetlands. Where there is no clear boundary between land and water we become mired, swamped, and just bogged-down. To be fair, that’s also an accurate description of trying to navigate and simultaneously understand these complex places. There’s no clear point to reach on foot except the other side.

Overall, there is a positive side to looking at the bigger picture: it keeps us earthed, grounded.

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