Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Why it is important to know the names of things

Wood frog lies submerged in a puddle along one of our trails
A couple of people have ribbed me a little about bothering to identify obscure plants and flowers.
I just always want to know what something is. I realize most people aren't "into" plants, just fish and animals. So what if they met someone who wasn't "into" those things? That conversation might go like this.
Hey, Al, how did you do fishing today?
"OK, I guess. We got some of those prickly-backed things."
Prickly-backed? What are you talking about?
"I don't know their names but we just call them prickly-backs. Funny-looking things with spikes on their backs and weird eyes."
Walleyes? Did their eyes look like mirrors?
"Yeah! That's them!"
Those are walleyes.
"We just call them prickly backs."
OK. Did you catch anything else?
"Yeah, some of those torpedo fish."
Torpedo-fish?
"Yeah, they shoot through the water like a torpedo."
Those are probably northern pike.
"They're torpedo fish to us."
OK. Anything else?
"A bunch of those teeny-stripers. That's about it."
Were they about as long as your hand with vertical bars on their bodies?
"Yep."
Those would be perch.
"Whatever."
Hmm. Did you see any animals?
"A huge horny thing! It came right in the water. I said 'we better get out of here before that thing eats us!'"
Did it have a big nose and were its "horns" really wide?
"That's it! It looked really mean."
A moose. You saw a bull moose. They are vegetarians. They don't eat people.
"Then along came this insane duck. It started freaking out -- screaming and laughing -- and I said "Man, that thing looks like it wants to peck our eyes out!'"
Was it black and white with red eyes and a dagger-like beak?
"Exactly. Those red eyes looked evil!'
It was just a loon. The red eyes help it see underwater. It can't even walk on land and I don't believe loons have ever harmed a human.
"And we saw the cutest hairy thing. We wanted to pick it up and bring it home, it was so cute."
How big was it?
"Kind of like a small dog, 'cept it didn't have any tail. Cute as a button."
Hmm. Was it black?
"Yep."
Sounds like a black bear cub. Don't pick those up.
"Whatever."

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1 comment:

Jerry Olaskowitz said...

Hi Dan,
So glad you are continuing your blog I enjoy your commentary. I can tell you have truly made the transition into retirement, good for you.