Sunday, February 5, 2012

Poetry and place names

Job and his sisters, Hidden Valley, Blackpool.  All names of places and landmarks.  I have a bit of a fascination with names.

I live in the shadow of Mount Diablo, the Devil's Mountain, named when a group of Spanish scouts were started by local Native Americans coming down, painted from their sacred site.  I grew up on Apollo Drive.  Places like Drake's Bay and Drinking Water Pass tell us a story about what places have been to people.  Sometimes they are helpful indicators of a place to rest. Others warn us to stay away, like Spirit Lake or Stinking Water.  They tell us who has been their and what those people did (Truckee, Winnemucca, Seattle).  Legends attach themselves and let us remember the past.  They encompass hopes (Silver City) and dreams and sometimes tragedy, like Wounded Knee.  They may illustrate a past landscape like Forest Hill in place that has nary a tree to be seen now.

When I visit a place, I often have a visceral reaction to the name alone.  It colors my perception of what I will find their now and in the past.  The stories I hear from place names helps keep me curious and excited to explore new places.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to comment, share or ask questions, but please, keep comments in good taste and respectful.