“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 ATree, 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.
Okay, it’s the Vancouver Sun Run, I’ve finished in around an hour according to my personal training watch device and the race was over almost 3 and a half hours ago and they still don’t have my official results up on the website yet!!
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m being sarcastic, but I do know that this is exactly what some folks will be expecting. Here’s the deal: you get a bib with a chip on it that sends a signal to some home device when you cross the start line and then sends another signal when you cross the finish line. It’s tied to your bib number which is tied to your name so really, given today’s technology, how hard can it be to have it appear INSTANTLY on some website and be searchable?
C’mon, folks, there’s over 30,000 runners! Ummm, that is a bit of a large number to coordinate. Yet when all is said and done, I really do expect that in a couple more years that is exactly what we will see. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it also had a photo of you as you cross the finish line ready for instant purchase, both for web only and in hard copy. That’s just how these things are going nowadays.
So really, I do expect to be able to get my “chip time” sometime this evening and definitely by tomorrow!
Now, back to why do I run in this race, originally started and sponsored by the Vancouver Sun, a local newspaper? And that’s not so simple. When I started running, a bunch of years back, it was to increase my level of fitness and lose a bit of weight.
As a child, I had serious problems with asthma- inhalers, the whole shebang, so just being able to run as an adult is a liberating experience. Anytime I get into a rut or think I should stop running, I remember those times as a kid when I couldn’t do things like play soccer because I would “wheeze out” and have to stop, pull out my inhaler and wait for the drugs to kick in so I could breathe easily again. That memory re-motivates, invigorates me and gets me out of that rut, instantly!
But that’s just running in general. Why do I run the Sun Run? I have to admit that for years, I poo pooed all the folks that ran the Sun Run. I thought to myself, who is crazy enough to want to run in a crowd of 30,000+ runners?!! Part of my joy of running was and still is, the solo aspect of it, where I just get to be with myself and the experience of feeling the road under my feet, and watch the landscape pass by. That’s all energizing and wonderful, but over the years, another side of me has been emerging: the social side. The part that wants to be with other people doing and sharing things together that we all like.
For running, that started to come out seriously when I started running with my best friend. He was a former marathon runner and although he’s quite a bit taller than me and a decade older, our paces were well matched and as we started running together and training for half and full marathons, I began to experience the joy of running with another person. Especially on the long slow runs you do to build up your endurance for the long distance races; marathons, half marathons and ultras. It was enjoyable to run and talk about stuff. We also had quiet times together, where neither of us needed to say anything, and that was fine, too.
So a bunch of years back (6 or 7), I suggested that we try the Sun Run. He agreed and the rest is history. I wouldn’t miss it for the anything, now!
Yes, I piss and moan during the race about how long you have to wait around in crowds before you start, that make you feel like just another sardine, of people just stopping in front of you when their interval timer goes off, of walkers taking up half the road, of being bumped by runners from behind, of bumping people in front of me, of running in the pouring rain, of running when it’s too hot, and all that stupid stuff.
Yup, in spite of all that, I love it! Absolutely love it! All the positive energy, all the different ages, all the high energy music at the start and from bands stationed along the way, all the people watching along the sidelines cheering you on and just being with all those other thousands of people doing crazy, fun stuff. The guys that wear the banana suits, the guys that were running with nothing on but a pair of briefs with an adverstising message tatooed all over their bodies, with the team that was wearing hats with antlers, with the team of mostly girls whose shirts had printed on the back “Your pace or mine” and the list goes on.
You don’t get that when you run by yourself! And you wouldn’t want it then, but I always come back from the Sun Run energized and with another great t-shirt to wear for the next few years. Maybe underneath it all, I just do it for the great t-shirts, LOL! NOOOOTTTTT!!!!
I also remember my first run thinking, why are people throwing all those clothes off to the side of the course. They’ll never get them back! And then I was told, the clothing was picked up by run volunteers and given to those who are less fortunate. I was astounded and amazed. It wasn’t just for fun, it also gave back to the community! Since then, I always wear a piece of gear or clothing that I’m not using anymore that someone else could be using and discard it as I start the race. I like that better than joining a team and fund raising. I’m not very good at fund raising. Did that once and didn’t really like it.
So for those of you who have never experienced anything like the Sun Run in your hometown, here’s a couple of pics to give you a feel for this event.
Sorry, no pictures during the run. Too focused on running! Had a really good pace and time 🙂
Maybe you should start a Sun Run in your community! You don’t need a newspaper to name it after. We do ours the last Sun-day in April (more sun puns there). Think about it. Community doesn’t just happen, it has to be envisioned and then put into practice. In a small way, this is putting community into practice.