Camouflage is the Wrong Word

Camouflage is the military art of concealment. As a word it has been back-engineered to apply to the actions of animals, like the toad below. The toad is not concealing itself, though. It has been selected for its environment.P1170974

Camouflage comes from French slang: camouflet, for a puff of smoke blown in someone’s face, similar to the Italian Capo Muffare, to muffle the head. Toad’s aren’t muffling. They are evolving at one with their environment. It is an organic process, not an intentional one. If there is intentionality, there is intentionality of the observer, or the observational metaphor. It’s not the toad. What the toad has is presence. Here-ness. Now-ness. It is a form of stillness.


No matter what the light does. That is far more beautiful and profound than “camouflage.” It’s time to discard these military words for organic earth. They just don’t fit.

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