Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Teach Them the Names of the Flowers and the Names of the Stars.


Stars over Loll, taken by Shad Burnham, 2007.
Do you know them too?

When I was a Boy Scout, my Assistant Scout Master, Winston Nelson led our hikes. He taught us the names of the trees and flowers all along the trial. Years later, when I worked at Camp Bartlett, my Nature Director, Derell Budd, inspired all on his staff to learn even more. Our goal was to know every flower of every season. Later, when I studied botany at USU with Art Holmgreen, Master Taxonomist, many plants were already my friends; I recognized at once. Every time one meets a flower, bush, or tree, whose name one knows, it is like meeting a friend. Knowing their names and a little about the flowers makes hikes far more fun, the beauty more beautiful. I got to teach the Botany merit badge back in the day when we collected 50 plants to earn it.
At Bartlett, I also taught Astronomy. We would lie on our backs, long into the summer night, out there on the flag pole field, north of Fife Lake, and gaze at the stars. I learned the names of many first magnitude stars and of many constellations in the summer sky. I created little stories to help my scouts remember. The bright star in Bootes' belly button was called Arcturus because the tourists were always poking him in his German tummy; and he would say, “auch tourists.” In the great constellation Scorpio, always on the southern horizon, is the red giant Antares. I told them how my Aunt Harry lived down south. It seemed ironic that Vega was the brightest star in the sky, and fitting that Spica (- we were not always politically correct in my youth -) was always above Mexico. On the tail of Cygnus the swan were pin feathers called Deneb[s]. Years later, while teaching Japanese to missionaries in Hawaii, I would lay on the Temple lawn and look at the same stars and remember my camp in the Idaho mountains were I had learned their names.

To me, stars and flowers provide a way to comprehend the infinite and the eternal. The night sky is beautiful, every star is too; the earth – as blue green globe – is lovely, my mountains are too. Every canyon in the mountains is testimony that the Laws of God's truth produce beauty. A single waterfall covered hillside, in any of our thousands of canyons, is beautiful; as is every flower that grows among the mossy rocks. Could one but see them, I am sure that molecules and atoms are beautiful as well.

I tell my staff and the leaders who attend my round tables to teach the boys the names of the stars and the names of the flowers. You should learn and teach them too.


These pictures are from around Loll and were mostly taken by Brad Lundell. As he takes more, I will add them.

Learn their names and then when we walk together through the forest we will be with friends, or if you are far away, and learn the stars, we can share them as friends do.


Stars come in constellations, flowers come in patches.

Every clearing on the forest floor is filled with flowers;
as is every clearing in the forest sky filled with stars.

Mountain Bluebell

Pink Monkey Flower #1


Pink Monkey Flower #2


Monk's Hood

Five-stamen Miterwort


Cowparsnip

Penstemon

Subalpine Spirea

Bearberry Honeysuckle

Twisted Stalk

Scarlet Gilia

Bog Orchid


False Solomon Seal


Woodland Star


Mountain Aster


Salmon berry


Blue Camas

Lupine #1
Lupine #2

Coralroot


Mountain Dandylion

Indian Paintbrush #1

Indian Paintbrush #2


Lark's Spur


Yarrow #1


Yarrow #2


Fremont's Geraniam


Sun Flower


Serviceberry


Mint


Stonecrop


Richardson's Geranium


Fleabane


Mountain Arnica


Columbine #1


Columbine #2


Columbine #3


Bear Grass #1

Bear Grass #2


The sun is also a star.

When we've been there 10,000 years,
Bright shining like the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we first begun.



(Amazing Grace, John Newton)

15 comments:

conner studio said...

How beautiful Brad has done well in capturing these flowers.

health is wealth said...

awesome
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Lysis said...

Thank you both for posting and looking at our flowers. One can never have too many flowers, too many stars or too many friends.

Reach Upward said...

Just last week I showed my 12-year-old son some of these plants at Camp Bartlett. The Idaho nights last week were spectacular, so we were also able to explore some of the myriad stars in the heavens. I only know about any of these things thanks to Scouting mentors from years past.

Anonymous said...

Amen, to "road trips." I wish I had been there with you

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