Once someone has introduced me to a plant, I take note of its shapes and impress it upon my mind with the name. Later there is some joy, when there is a spark of familiarity among what before was a just mass of green flora.
Here, I have often been asked for my “good name”–the local way of saying what at home we’d call our “given” or “proper” name. I think there is something beautiful about being able to call a person or plant by its good name.
The name can connect us with the origin of something.
Coffee is an example. It’s something I am so familiar with once processed into its drinkable form, yet I didn’t recognize it when I walked by the tree.
There was the coffee tree, its green fruit so many steps away from being what’s in my cup.
I crave to know the origins of things. So often we are so disconnected from the origin. In the United States, most of our clothes come from all over the world made by people we have never met with material we have no relationship with. To be able to see something in its raw form and have a relationship with it from there, I think allows us to have respect for that thing and know it in a deeper way. It allows us to respect the process it goes through to become something useful for us.
Let us be familiar with the environment around us and be able to call it by its good name.