Monday, August 9, 2010

What's in a Name?

Well, not much when you're scrambling to find a name for your weblog and every URL under the sun seems taken. But the name wildwoodstream finally struck in epiphanic fashion, and I liked it immediately—even moreso when Blogger reported it was available.

Where did it come from? I honestly don't know. Pushed, I'd probably claim that it's a subconscious echo of "Wildwood Flower," a traditional song that dates all the way back to 1860, but a song most commonly associated with the Carter Family. Whatever the case, the name does evoke the images I'd like it to. Untamed spaces of wood and water have always been a part of my center and spirit. They sustain, recharge, and glorify. They have substance. They matter.

Curious, I Googled the phrase yesterday and was surprised to see the name Tolkien pop up. Reading further, I found that J.R.R. Tolkien's usage of "wild-wood stream" makes it all the more appropriate for a blog devoted to outdoor pursuits. The phrase appears in a song sung by Treebeard the Ent, one of the most potent symbols of nature, ecology, and conservation in all of Lord of the Rings. The Ents, of course, are the giant race of tree-herders who resemble their flocks. And according to the LOTR Wiki,

"The Ent and the Entwife" is an Elvish song that Treebeard sings to Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took. It is about the Ents' desire that their wives come back to them, and the prophecy that that they might find a land where both Ents and Entwives can be happy together, though this will only be found after both have lost everything. The verses alternate points-of-view between the Ent and the Entwife. Several lines from the Ent's point-of-view are recited by Treebeard to Merry and Pippin as he takes them to his home in The Two Towers (film).
In the opening stanza of "The Ent and the Entwife," the Ent persona sings,

When Spring unfolds the beechen leaf, and sap is in the bough;
When light is on the wild-wood stream, and wind is on the brow;
When stride is long, and breath is deep, and keen the mountain-air,
Come back to me! Come back to me, and say my land is fair!
Beautiful. And fitting. Oftentimes, there's more to a name than you first think.


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