I'm re-posting this piece, which originally appeared on my blog in August, 2011. It just seemed like a good time to share it again — it's about flowers and naming things and memory. It feels springy to me.
Last week my blog had a mind of its own and instead of sharing the one piece I wanted my friends to see, it sent an email with a list of many pieces I had recently posted. Perhaps it will do this again, but I hope it won't. I have no idea how to control the way information is shared. I've decided not to freak about this! It will roll the way it rolls. Thank you, dear friends, for your infinite patience with my lack of techno savviness.
I think flowers appreciate hearing our voices, even if it's only a quick "hello, hello" in passing. But it's best to be specific and personal, to call each flower by name.
That's where I run into trouble. I can never remember the names of flowers.
So I make something up.
"Good morning, Prudence," "Howdy, Clarabella," "You're looking especially beautiful today, Ethel."
I whisper greetings to the flowers because I believe it makes them happy.
And also, I think they get a kick out of nicknames.
Did you ever have a nickname? (Maybe you still do.)
I remember camp names from childhood: Banjo, Froggie, Spike, Strings, Flash, Bongo.
They were wonderful counselors, each one.
And there was a time in the 1980s when it seemed every woman I knew was using an earth name: Cricket, Cloudy, Spirit, Dust, RiverChild, Forest.
These are the names I've had in my life, so far:
Irenechickle (family only)
Princess Potch in Toochis (translation: Little Girl Who Gets Smacked on the Backside When She Misbehaves)
I (for people who were too lazy to use 2 syllables)
Firelight (see above; this was in the '80s)
And now, Zee. Which is my favorite, and I'm sticking with it.
I once wrote a story about 2 girls named Blossom and Spitt who were best friends. Blossom was more of a toughie and Spitt had a large space between her front teeth. She was especially proud of that extra "t" at the end of her name. I don't remember anything else and I can't find the story anywhere. I may just start a new one with those characters because I like the names so much.
When my grandmother was the age that I am now, she couldn't always "find" my name. She'd go through a litany of possibilities: her 3 sisters, my mother, my younger sister. Until, finally, she'd come upon Irene. Or, more often, Irenechickle, which sounded delicious when she said it.
We always laughed when this happened. Grandma wasn't worried about losing her mind. It helps so much when you don't worry about losing your mind.
More than once I've called my sweetheart by our cat's name.
What do you call yourself when you look at your own reflection in the mirror?
I try to remember to call myself "Darling."
It makes it easier to start a conversation that way.