“I believe in the power and mystery of naming things. Language has the capacity to transform our cells, rearrange our learning patterns of behavior, and redirect our thinking. I believe in naming what’s right in front of us because that is often what is most visible. Eve Ensler
I love to put names on things. When I was an undergraduate at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse, (more years ago than I care to remember!) I took many many courses that involved using taxonomic keys to find out the common and scientific names of plants, animals, fungi and lots of other organisms. It was one of the things I most loved doing and when I graduated from ES&F, I asked my parents for a copy of Britton and Brown’s Illustrated Flora. This was in 2 volumes at that time and I was in heaven when they actually found it and gave it to me.
Over the years I have accumulated naturalist guidebooks for birds, fungi, ferns, lichens, plants, seashore and you name it. When I see something, I want to know what to call it. That’s how it becomes part of me and part of my sense of home and belonging. If I can name you, you’re a friend. For example, on one of the hikes I go on with my partner, J, we pass this old growth Douglas Fir and it is our favourite tree on that trail. The last time we went up I asked her, do you think it’s a grandmother or a grandfather. J, being the practical woman she is said “It’s just a tree.” Hmm. I like to honour these older trees when I pass by them and they often seem to have genders to me and since it was Just A Tree, and to me it was obviously a grandmother, I have named it Grandmother JAT. Now it’s also a friend 🙂
So wy did I tell you all this? Well, I have been taking pictures of plants and animals for years and lately, I decided to go back through all my photos and use Photoshop to create my own attractive taxonomic pages. Because that helps me to remember what I’ve seen and named and adds to my circle of “friends”. I thought I’d share them with you in this blog from time to time. My ultimate plan is to print them out as full size photographic pages and make a scrapbook from them. There’s no order to them right now, just images I liked with their names and some other details. Here’s a few of those images.
These are some of the flowers I’ve photographed on hikes in the alpine. And the feature image at the top is one of the slime moulds I captured, Trichia decipiens, on a hike on Grouse Mt. a few years back.
Hope you enjoyed meeting and making some new friends.
2 thoughts on “My Taxonomy project: naming things”
I love it. Just a tree, hmmm sounds about right to me. LOL. and yeah for all your friends. They are some good things to have.
Thank you, ruth. And if you saw it, you wouldn’t say, “just a tree”. It’s our favourite tree on that trail and she has a marvelous “presence” to her 🙂