Baby horse needs to get here soon.
I mean, there’s a lot of reasons why Baby Horse needs to get here soon, but the reason I’m referring to is so I can know the gender and knock half the names off The List.
Yes, it has capitals now. It’s not a list. It’s The List. By the time I’m finished honing it down and obsessing over it, and choosing one single name from it, it might even be THE LIST.
About a month or two after Sparkles was confirmed pregnant, I began collecting names. I mean, this is a horse who could be around for 30+ years. I need to find a name I love. And so, I began a collection. If I heard a name I liked, I put it on The List.
If I read a name in a book and I liked the way the name sounded, I put it on The List.
If I remembered a character I adored, or a story that meant a lot to me, or a phrase that I thought encapsulated what this too-nice-for-boring-ol-me foal meant to me…it went on The List. I know there are some people out there who can look at an animal and just get a feel for what that animal’s name is…. But that’s not me. I’ve never been blessed by that ability. Hence: The List.
Eventually The List was 70 plus names long, and I began weeding. Of course, the problem was that for every name I took off, I found another I liked just as much and added it on. Lately, with the foal due ANY DAY NOW, I’ve started to get serious. I mean, out of 70+ names, there ought to be a few that I didn’t like as much, or that wouldn’t work as a horse’s name, even if it was perfect.
For example: Farandolae.
If I ever got a tattoo, it would be of a farandolae. (Well, either that or Calvin and Hobbes – you know, the scene where the two of them are lounging that tree? That’s a close second, if I were to ever get a tattoo.) Anyways, back on track. What’s a farandolae, you ask?
A farandolae is a made-up scientific term from A Wind in the Door, the third book in Madeleine L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time series. In the book Charles Wallace is becoming sick, and nobody can figure out why. Eventually it becomes apparent that a great evil is convincing the farandolae in his mitochondria to not “deepen”. When they are young, farandolae are allowed to float around, moving here and there with nothing tying them down. It’s natural for them, but as they mature they are supposed to grow roots and attach themselves to one spot in the cell in order to do their work and keep the cell healthy.
But they don’t want to.
They listen to the voice of darkness which encourages them to avoid being tied down. “Fool. Once you deepen and put down roots you won’t be able to romp around as you do now… you’ll be stuck in one place forever… and you won’t be able to move ever again.”
In the climactic scene where good argues against evil, one of the older, rooted Farandolae says in return, “Now that I am rooted I am no longer limited by motion. Now I may move anywhere in the universe. I sing with the stars. I dance with the galaxies. I share in the joy and in the grief. We must have our part in the rhythm of our world, or we cannot be. If we cannot be, then we are not.”
I think this means a lot to me because I never really wanted to “grow up”. When I saw people with their full-time jobs, and their passel o’ kids, and their mortgages and their sensible lives, I shied away. Even as it was in the process of happening to me, I shied away. And no, I’m not saying that route is for everyone… but for me it was something life needed me to do, and I never wanted to. I could see it looming ahead, and I fought it, because I thought to throw down those roots was to lose my freedom, and to lose the beauty of my carefree life.
As I grow older, I realize how wrong I was, and how right that older, rooted Farandolae was. I am no longer limited by motion – now I can move anywhere, and be anything.
The concept is such a huge life lesson I’ve had to learn, and so beautiful to me…
…And just awkward as heck to say and harder to spell, and dude, do I really want to explain something so personal every time I introduce my horse?
And therein lies my dilemma – trying to balance my need for a name with meaning vs a name that’s actually spellable and that I want to say out loud on a day-to-day basis.
Garibaldi? Roheryn? They’re cool… But again, I’d have to repeat myself over and over when introducing the horse.
Paladin? It’s PERFECT….. oh, wait. Stupid Mugwump stole it first for her dog.
Pickles? Story? I LOVE THEM BOTH, and they’re on my list for personal reasons…. but they also belonged to a friend’s animals, and it seems almost disrespectful to keep them on the list.
Bramble? Pretorian? I like the way they feel when they roll off my tongue, but they don’t make me that excited, so I should probably strike them from The List.
Wanderlust? It’s perfect in meaning (rather than travelling the world with a backpack I am travelling Oregon with my amazing Morgan!), but horrible in reality. How do you even say it out loud? What was I thinking? Wander isn’t bad, but…. but Lust? Lusty? “Hey, Bean, dinner’s just done and there’s a few minutes before bed… can you watch the kids for a while? I want to go to the barn and groom my Lust for a while… she’s a dirty, hairy Lust.”
Yeah, that’s a definite scratch.
Precept? I think the only reason his made the list was because I was listening to Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series on audiobook and I liked the way the narrator said that word.
StayGold? I really wish I could make Robert Frost’s poem into a name, because it’s been a staple in my life since I first read it when I was 12 (Nature’s first green is gold, her hardest hue to hold….) …but it’s awkward, and again, a lot of responsibility to put on a young horse’s shoulders.
Name by name, oh-so-slowly I’ve been weaning down that giant list, and I finally have it down to just over fifty.
Fifty potential names…..for just one little horse.
I have had WAY too long to overthink this.
Promises (to Keep)
Miles to Go
And then, of course, right when I was patting myself on the back for making it even shorter, Aarene had to go and add another one to the list: Fairy Bramble. Bramble I’d already struck from the list, but Aarene pointed out that if Sparkle manages to hold on to her baby until she arrives this weekend, Fairy would be a perfect name, and Fairy Bramble an even better one. Aarene will be crashing at our place, since she’s the official storyteller at our city’s Fairy Festival…. hence Fairy Bramble for a name.
So, I guess, it looks like I’m still adding to That Danged List.
(I couldn’t find any applicable pictures for this post, and it seems boring without any pictures, so here. Here’s a couple of gratuitous pics of the boys riding Carrots.)