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

File
Minister’s Message: Are we seeing flowers or weeds?

In diffiult times, we need to watch what we watch

A plate of fried fish is photographed in this undated photo. Frying up cod or halibut in a beer batter is a delicious way to enjoy Alaska’s catch. (Courtesy Victoria Petersen)
Kalifornsky Kitchen: A secret ingredient for fried fish

Victoria Petersen serves up beer-battered halibut with a not-so-secret ingredient.

Photo from the Anchorage Museum of History and Art 
                                Dr. David Hassan Sleem stands on the front porch of his large Seward home in 1906.
The multitalented D.H. Sleem, Part two

Syrian-born David Hassan Sleem settled in Seward in 1903.

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: So sayeth the almanac 2020

Once again, the summer has rocketed by and we find ourselves on the precipice of the autumn equinox.

File
Minister’s Message: Being trustworthy in troubled times

Many people have forgotten that the source of our American values and virtues is the Bible.

The cast and crew of “Knife Skills” poses for a photo at Pier One Theatre during a recording session in August in Homer, Alaska. From left to right are Peter Sheppard, Theodore Castellani, Chloë Pleznac, Joshua Krohn (sitting, at sound board), Darrel Oliver, Helen-Thea Marcus and Ingrid Harrald. (Photo courtesy of Lindsey Schneider)
KBBI broadcasts new radio play on Friday

‘Knife Skills’ was written and directed by Homer playwright Lindsey Schneider

Squash from my neighborhood farmers market will be roasted into a sheet pan dinner, on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020 in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kalifornsky Kitchen: Lazy fall days

Farmers markets keep your hard-earned dollars within your community.

Anchorage Museum of History and Art
                                Dr. David Hassan Sleem stands on the front porch of his large Seward home in 1906.
The multitalented D.H. Sleem, Part one

Most people, if they have heard of D.H. Sleem at all, know the name because of his Alaska maps.

The Bayside Buskers perform from noon-1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, at Land’s End Resort in Homer, Alaska, as part of the Alaska World Arts Festival. (Photo by Aaron Christ)
Alaska World Arts Festival returns

For 2020, most of the festival will be virtual — and sometimes live

Low-bush cranberries are gathered in Anchorage, Alaska, on Monday, Sept. 7, 2020. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
                                Low-bush cranberries are gathered in Anchorage, Alaska, on Monday, Sept. 7, 2020. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kalifornsky Kitchen: Cranberry conundrum

I have enough cranberries to try multiple recipes. So I will.

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: Our daily bread

Lately it has been baking bread.