Naming

‘We rarely love what we cannot name’, said Robert Macfarlane at the Cambridge Literature Festival in April 2018.  He was speaking with Jackie Morris about their book The Lost Words.  He may be right, but there is a somewhat Linnaean obsessiveness in the need to know the name of everything, in taming nature by naming it, putting it into a box.

 

 

JL and I couldn’t name these flowers a Quy Fen.  A creamy umbillifer, yes, but angelica, hemlock, hogweed or something else?  Then a show of gold from the daisy family – sow-thistle, hawkweed, hawk’s beard maybe.  Our failure to name them piqued our curiosity without detracting from our joy at seeing them.  The magic does not always require a name.

Photos: Quy Fen, Cambs, May 2018

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