Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Service of Unusual Names: Fun to be Different?

Thursday, April 1st, 2021

Anise plant Photo:

My husband’s name was Homer and mine is Jeanne-Marie—atypical in the day–so it didn’t take long, in first grade, for me to become Jeannie, now Jeanne–JM to the family. I relish being different now; I didn’t as a child.

Rowan Photo:

Caroline Bologna reported in the Huffington Post that these days parents are naming babies after herbs and spices from Anise to Yarrow. In 2019 most popular were Jasmine and Juniper, the former given to 2,092 girls and the latter to 22 boys and 1,526 girls. Sage did well coming in at 666 boys and 1,164 girls.

Sophie Kihm wrote about botanical baby names on She identified Aspen, Briar, Nash, Rowan, Sylvie, and Zaria, Acacias, Juniper, Magnolia, Laramie, Indigo and Oak to name a few. We’re used to Lilly, Daisy and Oliver but the others?

Mary [the only name on the post] on listed 38 earthy boys names some of which are Alder, Ash, Aspen, Aster, Birk, Elm, Jonquil, Spruce and I knew someone who named her daughter–Lake.

I imagine that having a traditional name that is spelled unusually can be a lifelong burden as people would always get it wrong. Jeanne is a challenge.  I wonder if children mind having these unusual names. What about adults? What’s the most unconventional name you’ve heard?

Aspen trees Photo:

Service of Natural Beauty

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Natural Beauty

Some things need no enhancement—nature is one of them. In Sarah Cascone wrote about a so-called artist who uses national parks as her canvas in “Street Art Comes to National Parks—Is It Vandalism?

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

If you want to know the name of this person or what her “art” looks like you’ll have to link to Cascone’s article because I don’t want to give her name more publicity or “work,” which she signs “creepytings [sic], visibility. According to Cascone, “the National Park Service has launched a vandalism investigation since defacing or damaging national park property is a federal misdemeanor punishable by jail time.”

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

Cascone continued: “In her travels this year, ________[the artist] has left her unwanted graffiti art in at least 10 national parks, including Yosemite National Park in California, Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.  ___[the artist] has taken down her photos from Instagram. On her Tumblr, ___[the artist] admitted ‘i dun fucked uuuuuuup,’ while defending herself against critics she accused of ‘mansplaining.’” Mansplaining refers to a condescending tone and choice of words some men use when explaining something to a woman.

Cascone credits Modern Hiker for breaking the story: Good for them!

When it comes to art, do you think “anything goes?” Does this woman’s act fall under “freedom of expression?” Do you think that she should be made to remove the acrylic paint she used to deface rocks in national parks? Should she serve jail time?


Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park


Service of Relative Disaster

Monday, March 14th, 2011


When disaster strikes, acknowledging others who are worse off seems to help.

A dear friend was deathly ill. As her condition became increasingly dire, she pointed out that at least she wasn’t as bad off as two other people we knew. Though she was sick for a very short time and died first–they shortly afterwards–it seemed that with each diagnosis, knowing about others in horrendous physical and in their case, economic, shape helped shield the blow of her bad news.

People ask us about the condition of our house and grounds after a destructive ice/rain storm last week. By comparison to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, our damage is like comparing a broken fingernail to a death. The storm has dramatically changed our landscape and repairs are invading our pocketbook, but we are safe, lost no friends or relatives and we suffered from no consequences such as fire or radiation. We’re poised for cleanup.

icestormaftermath2011flagstsmall1Three-inches of rain turned to ice, combined with high winds conspired to suck majestic 100 year old trees out of the ground as a child might pull posies out of a field of wild flowers. The trees smashed fences and light poles and along with ruts made by transitory rivulets, the grounds are pockmarked by inches-deep silt that formerly held flagstones in place. You can’t walk on the flagstones or you’ll break them further and probably fall: They are perched in air and remind me of a bad dental job. Four days without electricity gave work to the furnace company; the septic folks and backhoe man join the arborist to get checks.

icestormaftermath2011siltsmallAlthough there is nothing we could have done to protect the grounds, I nevertheless feel sad that under our watch, they have suffered. I feel responsible for them, but as we sometimes forget when we continuously see extraordinary miracles of medicine and technology, we can’t control nature.

As we keep up with the news from Japan, even as we admit we’re shaken, we remind ourselves how lucky we are. In fact, a teenage tree planted in memory of our nephew survived quite well. And while we attend to healing the grounds, we have friends whose children, spouses, parents or friends are urgently ill.

When misfortunes or worse strike does it help you to think of others who are worse off?


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