Tuesday, April 21, 2009
The other day, don’t know why, I was told that my perfect job was to name things. A namer, I suppose. At the time I had maybe made up a punny nick name for some thing or other, but the next day, walking around the tree streets I started thinking of the names of trees. Hawthorne. Osier. Weeping Willow. Beech. Oak. Sycamore. Rowan. Mountain Ash.
Then I started thinking about how “intuitive” these names are. Weeping Willow is an easy one since it has all those drooping branches like one who might be weeping. Actually it works on many levels. The drooping branches can also be falling tears, or perhaps, in summer, its concealed interior is a perfect place to cry.
But what about the willow part? It perhaps relates to Willows, but that just leads to another association. But what about Osier, is there something there that indicates its wispy branches? Is there something sinuous and strong inherent in Beech? Howthorne’s do have a thorniness to them, but do they have a haw-ness? Doubtful, though I’m sure one could be instructed.
Then I did some thinking of the names of birds, or even the names, sky, moon, morning. I loved testing the sound and feel of the names—mainly of trees—and wondering about how they related to that which they named. I spent a lovely walking doing this, and I think I could spend a lovely life doing the same.
Sadly, most everything’s named already. How lovely must it have been for Adam, God bringing him various creatures, plants and animals, mutable and new, and invited him to attach a name. A certain collection of oral movements, expelled breath, and vibrations of the vocal chords. Eden, where the connections between thing named and name were new and known.
So, if anyone needs anything named, let me know. I’d like to start building up a resume. And, speaking of expelled breath, I’m looking for the word/name for when one expels breath quickly out of the nose or mouth as if in disgust. Similar to a pshaw, but not so heavy handed.
PS. My favorite tree is the Magnolia—again, where’d that name come from? Though I do like that it has a combination feel of broad, delicate, and strong. But that’s probably just what I associate it with because of my feelings about the tree. And that’s another thing I’d love about naming, thinking of what feel certain collections of consonants and vowels would take on through association with thing named. Anyway, they’re in bloom right now. Go find one to sit under right now; the blooms don’t last.