Do you know which one is Solomon’s Seal? And which is False Solomon’s Seal? I do. And, in a moment, I’ll answer this question. But, first: What’s in a name?
This week, I’ve been writing about experiencing the real world: the world comprising air, water, earth, plants, animals and sunshine, not the phony world where we spend most of our working lives, but the world we find outdoors in the summer. And for me, I feel better acquainted, better connected with that world when I know the names of things.
So as I walk in the woods in the spring, I’m looking to see if the Canadian dogwoods are blooming along the trail from the lighthouse to the Hurricane River. In August, I steer my walks towards an area where I know I’ll find ripe blueberries. I can boast that I have seen the carnivorous Northern Pitcher Plant in full bloom. And, because this week’s series has a spiritual angle to it, I should say that I know where to look for Jack-in-the-Pulpit.
I’m no scientist, and I don’t know if knowing the names of plants is even considered science any more. And I really hope you won’t think me a drudge. But, I learned in college that there are a lot more nouns than there are verbs, both in our language and in the real world; every little thing has a name. And I agree with Plato when he said that “inquiring after what we do not know will make us better and braver and less helpless.”
Naming the beasts in the field and the fowls in the air was one of the first jobs that God gave to Adam in Genesis, “and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.”
So when I go out in the woods, I keep my eyes and ears open. And when I get back to the car, I check out what I have seen in my field books and manuals. Which is how I know that really was a Baltimore Oriole I saw at the Log Slide a week ago.
The real question today: How do you know you’ve been in touch with the real world?
Ohhh, right! I promised to identify the two photos: Top is Polygonatum biflorum or Solomon’s Seal; below that is Maianthemum racemosum or False Solomon’s Seal.
Now, don’t forget to answer the main question. Once again: How do you know you’ve been in touch with the real world? The link to click and leave a “Comment” is below!
ABOUT TERRY GALLAGHER: After working more than 20 years in higher education, Terry Gallagher is exploring new ways to use media and messages to build stronger institutions and communities. Most recently, he has joined the board and helped launch communications efforts at the InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit, a new group with a long history.