By Any Other Name
As a kid growing up in Upstate New York farm country, surrounded by fields, creeks and forests, I knew lots of plants by what they looked like, what they smelled like, and whether they could cause an itchy rash, cut my skin, or stick to my clothes, but I didn’t often know their formal names.
It really didn’t matter. To this day, I don’t know the official name of the common weed with jagged-edged leafy structures radiating from the center that were so common in my childhood stomping grounds. “Watch out for the prickers!” my brothers and I would warn each other if we were running outside barefoot, which we usually were.
Having moved to California as an adult, though I still absorb the essence of my surroundings through my senses, I have a much stronger tendency to ask the name of plants, trees, and other items around me. I can list dozens of Northern California plants off the top of my head, but can’t do the same for the plants where I grew up, though I can pull up their images from memory.
The natural childhood skill of soaking up our surroundings by sight, sound, smell, taste and touch is something we can retain and hone again, even as we process information about our world more analytically as adults.
The flower photo featured with this Insights post is from the Fuchsia Dell in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, but it doesn’t look like the fuchsia I’m most familiar with. Could this be a different kind of flower that just happened to be growing near the various fuchsia in this dell? Again, it really doesn’t matter.
A lovely flower is a lovely flower is a lovely flower, regardless of how we label it.
May we all tap into our childlike superpower of absorbing nature’s offerings through our senses, and not always worry about what to call things!
This week’s HikingAutism Hike Notes from the archives is Fuchsia Dell-Golden Gate Park, a shady section of San Francisco’s urban oasis featuring a variety of fuchsia.
This week’s Hike Notes from the Archives:
(Original Hike Notes 134): Fuchsia Dell-Golden Gate Park
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