It was Mrs. Shepherd who wrote the word bark on the blackboard and sent us out of the classroom to locate the word in the physical world. I was seven or perhaps eight years old, and new to a boarding school in the foothills of the Himalayan ranges where students, almost all of us from non-English speaking families, were enforced to speak solely in English.
Bark was the language of a dog.
There may have been two oak trees, a set of swings, and a bench outside the classroom. Memory has a way of infusing corrections to location so perhaps it was a seesaw and not swings. I touched the skin of the tree and whispered, bark. How could I be certain that the name of a thing I did not know was also a hostile sound from a dog?