– The Names, p.196
The beautiful spell of what, for lack of any other lexeme, shall here be called Taxonomaphilia: the love of naming things. It is intoxicating to suddenly be able to tell apart the viridescent backdrop, which one could only vaguely differentiate as shrubbery, trees, herbs and flowers. One of the unexpected perks and pains of becoming a secondary teacher who teaches, among languages, the beauty of [rudimentary] science is to have to get to know one‘s local plants and animals. In the beginning it seems a rather gratuitous undertaking, freighted down with a lot of escapist excuses on one‘s own part as if a high enough count of arguments contra-herbotaxonomy [yeah, that one‘s fresh out of the wazoo too] could somehow nullify the ultra-compulsory ECTS requirements, e.g.
First: one has thus far succesfully survived without knowledge about omnivegetative herbs and shrubs, curative powers or not, thanks to the availability of modern medicine via apothecary or, if things get really dire and one is willing to bite the sour bullet of covering one‘s Franchise, the MD. Secondly: why bother? The names will not give us any magical power over plants to, for example, call on lawn-disfiguring weeds to bloody bugger off. Or, even better, on Mother‘s or Valentine‘s, to call on some lovely bouquet to blossom forth from the dirt strip outside one’s appartment block. Where even with the best of nutrients and greenest of pollex’…
Numéro trois: the significant brain space taken up by the 200-plus names will be sorely unavailable for the latest didactical methods and pedagogical principles; indeed, this kind of knowledge will as swiftly depart the neuronal network as it has entered it and who knows for how long then this empty grey realestate will stand empty, fertile only for plant matter?
All of these contravegetal, anti-taxonomaphile misgivings are quickly given the boot when sauntering down the street one catches sight of, among the scraggly mess of fledgling ruderal herbs, a couple of wilting yellow noggins and, without knowing why, joyously proclaims: Rough Hawksbeard! And there, that‘s a Coltsfoot! [Knowing full well that it is just about as ugly a plant as you‘ll ever find.] If nobody‘s around to hear one‘s sudden outburst of index-jabbing botanic Taxonomaphilia one might indeed emerge unscathed. The thing is that, armed with as little as fourty to fifty names and matching mental images [samsung tab be blessed], a pre-industrial revolution pattern recognition module suddenly revs into high gear and demands of one, a meaning-making imperative, to point and name.
And so I do, ever more competently it seems like, as I get more reps on my superflashcards deluxe. The power of naming is preternatural, in fact, naming our organic péngyǒus in the immediate vicinity is such a pleasure per se that any ulterior objectives [restorative, mag
niloquent, or otherwise] are beside the point. Blutroter Storchenschnabel comes rolling off the tongue like an ancient incantation, Wolliger Lumipallo makes you both frown and smile until you touch one of the leaves, Grosser Waldmeister calls up flaming images of Walpurgisnacht… suddenly every little plant is rooted in a more complex cosmos of meaning, history and human misunderstanding.
Nominaphilia vegetalis, dear товарищ, think it loud and think it proud. The lexemes are the designations are the names – the blossoming names… the goddamn shizzle.