Posts Tagged Naming

Flowers at Dry Island Buffalo Jump

It’s fun to take pictures, come home, and page through “Wildflowers Across the Prairies” or some such, to find a name for my most recent “discovery”  And there it is- correctly cataloged, described with precise scientific wording. “LEAVES are opposite, ovate, with a rounded base and pointed apex. They are. . . ”

“So what’s the point?, you say.  “You have discovered nothing new. It’s in print already, and scattered over the internet to boot!”   Ah, but these photos represent particular flowers, on a particular day, in a particular location which I, myself, saw.  If I share them with you you might be motivated to search out your own experiences.

I was thinking of it this morning in terms of spiritual experience.  God is not new, and with him there is no shadow of change.  He is the Alpha and Omega, the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  For thousands of years people have recorded his works and their experiences of his presence and intervention.  And yet his work of grace to me is not diminished because another has known him.   In fact, a particular joy of growing in the knowledge of God is to compare notes with others.

Anyway- back to topic.  Here are some of the flowers we enjoyed finding at the Buffalo Jump.

Prairie Sunflower

Sunflower on the flats

Wild Blue Flax

Pasture Sage

Prairie Coneflower Group

Prairie Coneflower

Tufted Fleabane

Western Wild Bergamot - scented like Earl Grey Tea

Purple Prairie-Clover

Purple Prairie-Clover

Gaillardia

Lichens on Rock

Silver Buffaloberry - This particular stand of bushes is special because my father introduced me to it his last summer.

Buffalo Berries- not quite ripe

Hairy Golden Aster - just coming into bloom

Scarlet Mallow

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If you know the name

Madeline L’Engle was right when she wrote in “A Wind in the Door” about the importance of naming.

“Progo!” Meg asked. “You memorized the names of all the stars—how many are there?”

“How many? Great heavens, earthling, I haven’t the faintest idea.”

“But you said your last assignment was to memorize the names of all of them.”

“I did. All the stars in all the galaxies. And that’s a great many.”

“But how many?”

“What difference does it make? I know their names. I don’t know how many there are. It’s their names that matter.”

Charging around the internet with a photo of an unidentified flower in hand is a most haphazard and unrewarding experience.  So I went down to the library this afternoon and came home with a selection of books on Alberta flora.

With their help I am gradually putting names on the flowers I’ve been photographing and happily throwing up on this blog just as “pretty”.  I also discovered that once one has a name, common or scientific, the internet becomes a treasure trove of information.

It led me to a site-with a totally unremarkable home page which none-the-less  has treasure trove of beautiful pictures of Saskatchewan wild flowers– one of the best collections I’ve stumbled on yet.  So nice that Prairie Flowers don’t recognize provincial boundries and many bloom here in Red Deer.

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