The only thing I have done religiously in my life is keep a journal. I have hundreds of them, filled with feathers, flowers, photographs, and words – without locks, open on my shelves. ~Terry Tempest Williams
My grandmother pressed wildflowers under stacks of books. I tried to emulate her in anyway I could and I still find the remnants of dried flowers in my favorite books.
I grew up with larkspur, knapweed, cinquefoils, and trilliums and wore black-eyed Susans in my hair. I learned the names of the wildflowers during fireside chats with rangers in Wisconsin state parks and while earning badges as a brownie girl scout.
Now I live in semi-arid Salt Lake City, quite the opposite of the lush and humid midwest where I grew up, and I no longer know the names of the trees or the flowers or the birds. I know maples and loons and plovers and thistles, but nothing about the tiny delicate desert flowers or the gorgeous sub-alpine blooms.
Shakespeare famously said, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” So why does it matter if we know the names of things if we stop to appreciate its beauty?
Maria Popova offers an explanation in her lovely treatise on how naming confers dignity upon life and gives meaning to existence:
To name a thing is to acknowledge its existence as separate from everything else that has a name; to confer upon it the dignity of autonomy while at the same time affirming its belonging with the rest of the namable world; to transform its strangeness into familiarity, which is the root of empathy. To name is to pay attention; to name is to love.
In my quest to further pay attention along with my new found wildflower photo taking obsession, I want to begin to learn the names and the stories of the flowers and plants that take root in my adopted hometown. What follows is my trail running/hiking/exploring journal and my attempt at naming.
April 13, 2016
The Glacier Lily
Otherwise known as the Yellow Avalanche Lily, I found these little lilies hanging out on the southeast slopes above City Creek adjacent the pipeline. The mule deer love to nibble on the foliage. I wonder why they hang out upside down.
The Grape Hyacinth
This non-native purplish blue flower resembles a bunch of grapes, hence their name grape hyacinth. These are prevalent around my neighborhood and I found them growing alongside the Bonneville Shoreline Trail section in City Creek. They are native to Europe and I wonder who brought them here and why since they spread fervently from seeds and bulbs and are very difficult to control.
Unknown Pink Flower
Another flower found alongside the City Creek section of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, but I can’t figure out what it is. Still searching…