But then--thankfully, because where would I be if the other side of my inner-voice wasn't encouraging and gentle?--I start to write down the names of plants and animals I can name, that I hold in the store of my memories: garter snake, blackbird, robin, mourning dove, bullfrog, salamander, eastern cottontail, white-tailed deer, muskrat, porcupine, cardinal, bluejay, crow, black-capped chickadee, blue heron, lilac, snowdrop, striped and siberian squill, maple, oak, birch, pine, weeping willow, crab apple, chipmunk, grey squirrel, striped skunk, goldenrod, black-eyed susan, tulip, rose, geranium, hydrangea, bleeding heart, mum, fern, philodendron, water lily, clover, carrot, rhubarb, strawberry, raspberry, cattails, milkweed, painted turtle, mallard, trumpeter swan, Canadian goose, red fox, coyote, timberwolf, lynx, wild turkey, dandelion, sumac, poison ivy, poison oak, cricket, grasshopper, woodtick, mosquito, black fly, boxelder bug, bald eagle, loon, trout, trout lily, sunfish, catfish, carp, crappie, bullhead, bass, walleye, daddylong legs, monarch butterfly, dragonfly, raccoon, pheasant, hawk, bison, black bear, agate, granite.
And then I think, too: if I lived in Texas or Florida or New Mexico, I might be impressed with this list. Or maybe not. I might think, Why, that girl is a bit of a naturalist. Or maybe not. Some people learn the Latin names for things like others learn Spanish.
But I think for today--since I am trying--I'll rest on this thought, a type of bullfrog chorus: Good for her.
Good for me.
How about you, wonderful-dear-and-genius readers?
What parts of the natural world do you know by name?