>all things unnamed


I name my world. When I can’t, when I am unable to — let’s say I am camping inside a wet tent and am down to my last pair of wool socks, if I am quiet and listening carefully, comes the shadow against the blue of canvas, presenting words like roasted mittens, or long-elbowed boy. Naming the world realigns the stars etched against the life lines on our palms.
You can only see them when you do not look.
We took a long walk this weekend, along a creek which runs through a canyon. We threaded our way through ungroomed stands of trees, around a bend and over hillsides- taking photos of all things unnamed.
I name my shoes, the vehicles I drive, the pumkins we carve, but realized on this walk- I didn’t know the names of anything we saw. Moreso, I wasn’t inclined to rename anything. Everything had already been named. We have names for the flower and its petals, we have names for the October air. When we name something, do we stake a claim?
I didn’t want to stake a claim. I took the Vow of No More Making Names. Dropped the vow into the HeretoforeThereafterUnamedCreek- with three witnesses pressed against me.
Sometime after crossing the bridge, I caught myself from naming this delicate fluff:
 The Stuff Little Kids Are Made Of.
And this one, while I was on my knees, holding steady, waiting for the slight breeze to subside so I could take this photo- I was almost thinking: Flattened Bloomer.
When we returned home (all our lanterns waiting for us on our doorstep.) (all of them named before the Vow Ceremony)
Jack O’Jacky, brother to Jack O’Punch, son of Jack O’Dult

I uploaded the photos to my laptop and read my email. A letter from a friend had arrived, detailing his plans to continue climbing the highests peaks in each of our fifty states. This time – Mount Marcy in the State of New York. I toggled over to Google to learn a little more about this peak. First thing I learned was the peak was once known as Tawahus,  an Indian name for cloud splitter.
 Second thing I learned:  the local Indians back in the day had no name for this mountain. The name Tawahus was given to the mountain by white settlers.

About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website: https://toomuchaugust.wordpress.com

7 responses to “>all things unnamed

  1. >The Indians probably had a name for this mountain but it wasn't spoken or there was no need to give it a name…. it was just "the mountain".“How can we restore order under the heavens?” The Chinese sages would reply:“Call things by their right names”…. without information, without judgment. This is hard for the creative mind and for a society that uses language to influence opinion.I do agree with you that the fluffy, white, weedy wildflower is "the stuff little kids are made of." I understand your name for that flower…. and it fits. I will always see that "weed" and think of your name for it.Beautiful and interesting post.

  2. whalesound

    >You write the loveliest posts, Sherry!

  3. >Hi Sherry!So happy that you wandered over to my blog and left some kind words.I am obsessed with the stories of things ("This blue flower was brought as a seed in the pockets of the Hungarians who settled here, and they used its petals to make ink," for example) and making the stories of things.Naming is a facet of the same obsession, I think. :)I also love color/product names (paint chips, eyeshadows, crayons, fabric, clothing).Glad to have found your writing!

  4. >What is he going to climb in Kansas? Mt. Pancake?

  5. >Your photos, as always, are transporting. They stir a homesickness for a place I've never been. I think naming, depending on what is named, is a way to help us recognize the friend, the circumstance, when we meet again. It is interesting, this post following so closely after the one that was about naming. Without names or identifying words, are we not just in a void?

  6. >farmlady, my turn to say what a beautiful and interesting post. earlier this year we were driving the back roads in montana, my dad was pointing out the landmarks, which were mostly square buttes. one was named bird's tail but the others were named things like "crown" and sullivan's hill", which caused my father to remark what a shame the calvary had found it necessary to name (claim) all the buttes, and not kept the original names (or lack thereof)given the buttes by the indians.nic, thank you! hannah! good to have you here. i enjoyed your post about figuring out the story behind everything…even as regards colors. when my daughter and i are bored, we find such stories in the Land's End catalog. i am working on a poem to that effect, "Talking Back to The Land's End Catalog".hi john, many thanks.rox, you know i think he climbed kansas already. um….all of it…marylinn, i understand that homesickness for a place i've never been. (you might be part irish?) i like the notion of giving name to our worlds for "when we meet again".

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