What’s in a name?

Generally, I’m not into naming my things, but I might have to make an exception.

  • Saturday, September 5, 2020 10:59pm
  • Life

I think I need to name my mountain bike. I’m thinking “Grouse Flusher.”

Generally, I’m not into naming my things, but I might have to make an exception. You see, I can hardly go for a mountain bike ride without having a grouse — or, on occasion, several grouse — appear out of nowhere as I’m cruising down the trail.

And, on more than one occasion, that sudden flush of a grouse, or several grouse, has caused a near-crash. And some of those near-crashes are getting a bit too close for comfort.

Many people like to refer to grouse as “stupid chickens,” but I disagree. If you ask me, they’re on the same list as moose and bears for the potential to cause bodily harm — though for different reasons.

As an aside, the list also includes a porcupine that was shuffling down the middle of the trail, and forced me to make a split-second decision between running it over or bailing into a patch of pushki. I chose the pushki, because I knew I only had enough tire repair supplies to fix one flat, but to this day, that decision remains debatable.

Anyway, if you don’t believe me about the ferocity of the spruce grouse, just ask a friend of mine who was forced to used her bear spray on a particularly pesky one while going for a jog on the local trails.

In fact, in some Native American cultures, Grouse is depicted as a brave warrior. In one story from the Pend d’Oreilles people, two grouse defeat Coyote by hiding in the brush and surprising him as he was walking along a ridge. One of the grouse flaps around Coyote’s head while the other flies around his feet, causing him to lose his balance and fall off a cliff.

I know how Coyote felt.

But, back to naming my mountain bike. As I said, I’m not really big on naming things. I know many people who have named their bikes, or their cars, or other possessions. If you think of your bike as your “steed,” as some people do, I guess naming it makes sense.

Personally, I’m more of a labeler, rather than a namer. For example, my daughter has named her car Sherrie, while I’ve always referred to it as “the red car.”

Likewise, I drive a truck, and ride my mountain bike or road bike. Heck, most of the time I even refer to my kids as Thing 1 and Thing 2.

There was a point where a friend cajoled me into coming up with a name for my bike — Hobbes, because it’s orange and black like the tiger in “Calvin and Hobbes” — but it didn’t stick.

However, they say that naming something gives you a certain power over it. Or maybe naming your fear helps you face it.

Either way, I feel like I need to rein in this ability to flush a grouse before I end up like Coyote. So, Grouse Flusher it is.

Will Morrow lives in Kenai. You can email him at willmorrow2015@gmail.com.

• By Will Morrow, For the Peninsula Clarion

More in Life

This screenshot from the Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference website shows the faculty who will be attending the conference, held virtually May 15-18. From left to right, top row, are Francisco Cantu, Victoria Chang, Ernestine Hayes, and Brandon Hobson. From left to right, bottom row, are Anis Mojgani, Marie Mutsuki Mockett and Vera Starbard.
Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference includes readings for the public

After hiatus, annual event back as program transitions out of pandemic

Alex Rydlinski holds one of his pieces in an Instagram photo from July 18, 2020. (Alex Rydlinski)
Alex Rydlinski holds one of his pieces in an Instagram photo from July 18, 2020. (Alex Rydlinski)
Art Guild welcomes self-taught artist as new executive director

Originally from Fairbanks, Rydlinski was looking for a place “off the grid”

Foreground, from left to right: Kenai Middle School seventh grader Cooper Tallent-Darling and eighth grader Gavin Hunt perform as their “Lion King” characters, Simba and Mufasa, while the rest of the cast acts in the background. The school drama department recorded and filmed a rendition of the Disney movie and premiered it in May 2021. (Photo provided by Kenai Middle School drama)
Kenai Middle School produces movie musical rendition of ‘The Lion King Jr.’

The film is available to stream online this weekend.

Sierra Moskios is the coordinator for the REC Room. Moskios recently received an Alaska Afterschool Superhero award for her dedication to the youth of Homer. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Moskios earns Alaska Afterschool Superhero award

Sierra Moskios earned the Alaska Afterschool Superhero award for her dedication to Homer youth.

A souffle omelet takes a delicate hand but offers rich flavors and sophisticated textures. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: A Mother’s Day omelet from the heart

Mother’s Day has been one of the hardest days of every year since my mother left this world 13 years ago.

Brie and caramel apple voulevant is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, photographed in April, 2021, in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: A celebration of food

Make first gatherings special with this simple but sophisticated brie and caramel apple voulevant.

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Time to enjoy, not to annoy

I’m already overhearing growing concerns about whether or not the usual influx of tourists to the peninsula will be dampened due to the surging tsunami of fuel costs.

Photos courtesy John Schoen
Mary Beth Schoen admires a large-tree old-growth stand in Saook Bay on northeastern Baranof Island. Some individual trees were over 6 feet in diameter and many centuries old. This riparian area was adjacent to a salmon stream and was full of bear trails. Large-tree old growth stands are rare on the Tongass.
‘Tongass Odyssey’ explores decades of research, politics and change

‘What we learned is that old growth forest is very important’

Will Morrow (courtesy)
When did I get wise?

When did I turn into that old guy who feels like he has to give everyone else advice?

Most Read