My Weekly Dose of Wild (2015): better acquainted with my flora and fauna friends


I'm learning to identify flowers and birds and lot of other things in our natural world.  But it's a slow process. When I was a kid, I wasn't very curious about each individual species, I just loved being immersed in the outdoors.  I loved hearing birds sing, I loved walking through tall grass, I loved exploring small streams but I never learned the names of different species.  I never felt the need to know.  Perhaps I named individuals, perhaps it was a fleeting colour, movement, excitement to my day, perhaps I got excited by seeing something familiar that I had seen before but in the end what I was truly enchanted by was capital N "Nature".  And I didn't need the details.  There wasn't the need to share the discoveries with others, therefore there wasn't the need for a common name with which to use in communicating about my day.

Now as an adult, I'm finally learning those names.  Not with a pressing need to be able to list everything that I see every day or a desire to share my discoveries with others but as a slow gentle curiosity that allows me to distinguish different creatures and to details all the abundant flora surrounding me.  If it's a new plant that I see, I'll try and take a photo of it in various stages and then take out my identification book when the flower appears.  And if all else fails, I'll do an image search online for plant, colour, province.  (That one worked wonders when I was trying to determine the name for Viper's Bugloss - talk about a lucky hit! And I learned a new word - terminology for the parts of a flower.)
inflorescence (inflōˈresns): a group or cluster of flowers arranged on a stem.  Types include: raceme, spike, umbrel, head, catkin, etc. (Wikipedia)
But oh - the abundance of flora out there!  I'm seriously thrilled if I can add a handful of new plants to my memory every year.  I remind myself (so as not to get too discouraged) that when I started re-immersing myself in nature, my list was very small and now in less than five years, it has grown ten-fold.  But there are still hundreds more...  There is so much to learn: trees, shrubs, grasses, ferns, lichens, mosses... and that is only on the flora side.  I'm also trying to expand my knowledge for bird identification by sight and sound.  This learning process will keep me busy for the rest of my life.  But truth be told, I know that my lack of knowledge doesn't ever distract from my thrill to connect to nature whether I know the name or not.  Rather than zooming in on one species, I zoom my field of vision back out again and just take it all in.

That's what I really appreciate about nature.  Being immersed, being connected and being thrilled by my surroundings.

I feel a part of it and names become unnecessary.

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