A Proper Naturalist I Am Not

So, I’ve admitted that I’m pretty good with identifying and knowing more than *normal* people should about a wide range of animals (don’t get me started on my dull, but exhaustive knowledge of freshwater mussels…), save birds, since I have peculiar bird issues and they kind of creep me out (I’m working to overcome the creepy factor, slowly). But I also have to admit that I am really, painfully ignorant about trees and plants. I guess we all have elements of the natural/non-human world that we are more drawn to than others. And plants and trees just typically don’t capture my interest all that much. Well, if I happen to learn about them I find this knowledge interesting, and useful, but I don’t go outdoors with a guidebook in hand trying to figure out what things are.

So I have decided that to better appreciate where I am living, I should learn a whole lot more about this landscape. Today I started with identifying the beautiful pink trees that have exploded in bloom ALL OVER the place in the last week or so. Not a hard task: they’re Cercis canadensis, the very common Eastern Redbud tree . I do like knowing the names of things.

It occurs to me, and maybe this is something L. should comment on, that my own interest in the natural world is often prompted simply by aesthetics, by my own perceptions of beauty, particularly when it comes to plants and trees. Things which I find attractive compel me to learn more, to uncover a meaning, name and significance.


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