Is there an unnamed stream behind your house? An unidentified pasture on the far side of town? A nameless park at the end of your block?
“Giving something a name is the first step in taking care of it,” Akiko Busch writes
. “Place names help us to attach landscape to history and region… [and help] humans become attached to places.”
This week, dear writers, give a moniker to a nameless place or natural event: a star? a storm? a cold snap? Perhaps you’ll draw on the music of sound to inspire a name (listen to how these stream names, listed by Busch, almost sound like lines of poetry: Salt Sulphur Springs, Bog Swan Creek, Poor Hollow, Cottonwood Wash). Or perhaps your name will acknowledge the indigenous owners of the land or connect to local history (Busch gives the example of Brazos River, “derived from the Spanish Rio de los Brazos de Dios, meaning the ‘River of the Arms of God’—what the waterway appeared to be to early settlers in that parched part of the country.”). Or perhaps your name will come from personal experience. What emotion rang through you when you saw that meteor tear across the sky? Can a feeling or thought be captured in a name?
In addition to your name, describe this place or natural event in a short paragraph, reflecting on its new moniker, and the significance it has to you personally, as TheWildTimTam
do in these excellent pieces.