Naming Names

We paint our hearts with birdsong and sun-drenched green canopies. The sky was made up of tufts and wisps of sea. Sun breaks. The overnight rain. What we wanted was the same; adventure, joy, connection. One of us ducked off the main trail, down a side path already almost overgrown with new spring growth. So the rest of us followed. What used to be a creek, with a barely discernible trickle, had become much wider since the snow melt, moss covered trunks and rocks providing a way across, though we don’t have the courage or the will to venture that way, we just wonder at the new growth shooting straight and tall with ripe green foliage that, from our vantage point, could yet still be anything because we don’t have a name, or any other point of reference for it. The stream narrows and the stillness is hurried to yet more stillness. A great totem, a Douglas-fir bole perhaps two feet in diameter, slanted and dead rises from the pool of water that has forced the park stewards to put of caution tape. At the very top we spot our first bird. Not exactly discernible, though still wondrous, lightly pecking at the mossy wood, feeding on insects and organisms only known to the tips of trees. He deftly works his way around the trunk and disappears to the other side. After a few moments of wondering at a name, we just about give up waiting for him and he reappears in flight and back into the cover of a stand of Douglas-fir with his friends. As he flies from one trunk to another, we notice a striking red underwing, which will not soon be forgotten.

at the tips of trees,
a whole world of wonder
bright smile on your face.

What is this thing that insists on identifying and categorizing? while watching I cannot but focus on knowing a name for what I’m looking at. Is this the same place that imagination creates from? Would it make me a better dad if I had a name for it? Would it make the experience better? Back on the main trail we talk and laugh, plan and run under the cover of Redwood cedar and Douglas fir. One of us says, “wait, shhh,” The whole trail is alight with morning song, with what seems like hundreds of different species of bird. Our attention, like a flashlight, went from focused onto a single point, our own thoughts and words, feet on the trail, and in the next instant our attention seemed to include the whole 130 acres of the park.

how wonderful,
this expanse,

4 responses to “Naming Names”

    1. Thank you 😊 Still haven’t figured out what kind of damned bird that was!

      1. Sort of just makes it more special. More memorable

      2. For sure. I think if I can drop this fixation on naming then it opens up the possibility for creativity to take its place.

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