,

This morning we hunkered down in a tent in Culag Woods, with the rain drumming everywhere – near and far – around us, and explored the concept of the Lost Words.

Initially matching up names to pictures, we questioned what they all had in common, generating a variety of answers: “They are all living things”, “They all live in Britain”, “You can find them outdoors”… When the answer was revealed – that they had all been removed from the Oxford Junior Dictionary – a discussion ensued on why.

Some of the "lost words". © Katrina Martin/Scottish Wildlife Trust
Some of the “lost words”. © Katrina Martin/Scottish Wildlife Trust

We realised we are lucky in our part of the UK. We do use many of these words and refer to these creatures and plants regularly. We talked about urbanisation and how that has maybe affected the removal of natural words and led to an increased number of technology-based and more “modern” words. This led onto talking about how more access to outdoor spaces is needed and that interaction with animals and plants is a good thing to encourage. The consensus agreement was that while it is important to include new and updated words, the natural words should remain too.

The Lost Words book was introduced as a response to the issue, and the introduction read aloud: “Once upon a time, words began to vanish from the language of children…” By the time the last syllable of the closing sentence was uttered, the group were held in a spellbound silence.

Conjuring spells from The Lost Words book. © Katrina Martin/Scottish Wildlife Trust
Conjuring spells from The Lost Words book. © Katrina Martin/Scottish Wildlife Trust

When asked the question “Does anyone want to conjure back one of the lost words with a spell?” all were eager, and so we took it in turns to choose one and read it out. It was magical, with the beating of the rain offering a dramatic rhythm to the spoken word. We decided to create our own Spellbook and, after an explore in the woods and time spent flicking through books, we drew, painted, modelled, created. We played around with words. Each of us wrote a spell for a creature or plant we felt a pull towards.

Creating our own spells complete with illustrations. © Katrina Martin/Scottish Wildlife Trust
Creating our own spells complete with illustrations. © Katrina Martin/Scottish Wildlife Trust

Katrina Martin

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