I imagine the first humans touching rocks, blades of grass, newborn babies, and the fur of animals they killed. And making sounds — the first sounds that named the things they were touching. In my mind the sounds don’t form words. They resemble howls, wails, cries, high pitched screams, laughs, wheezes; they are the immediate manifestation of the physical, the plane of existence that is the most basic.
I have recently discovered that not everything that I know and experience can be named. I have discovered that some of my experiences exist beyond words or apart from them in a place that is known only to me. I suspect that we all have those our “own places” and we can not make them accessible to others by words.
My father was diagnosed with lung cancer in December, three months ago, and this is how I have learned that I have no words to talk about some things. The feelings associated with my dad’s diagnosis cannot be described by the words that I know. I am unable to name my experience but I know that it reaches to the essential, intrinsic, buried deep inside me place that seem to belong to those primordial howls, cries, and ails. The feeling rattles beneath my skin, in the dark cave of my chest, and in the heaviness of my lower abdomen. I have no words, just the physical sensation.
I name things to make sense of the world I live in. I name to make things and experiences tangible and therefore accessible to others. If I can’t capture things and experiences in words, I can’t communicate. I can’t share them with others and this means being alone with those things and experiences.
Perhaps this was the first reason for the first word: to share and not to be alone.