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Stormy Afternoon and an Etymological Ponder
updated: Dec 30, 2012, 8:26 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

It was raw and windy at the beach this afternoon. A fling of sandpipers scurried; a lonely harbor patrol hurried back to the harbor; palms on East Beach stood guard against the approaching rain. (Side note: why do birds have so many collective nouns (sandpipers, for instance: Sandpipers, a bind of, a cluster of, a contradiction of, a fling of, a hill of, and even a time-step of, while there are so few for trees, none that I could find for palms?)

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Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 358428 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-30 08:38 AM

A stand of palms, a thicket, a grove, a forest, a cluster.....


 COMMENT 358434 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-30 08:52 AM

A copse (refers specifically to trees), gang, grouping, growth, assortment, gaggle (can refer to more than just geese)... lots of choices out there to refer to trees... and for palms maybe it would be "a string of palms stand guard, protecting the shore"...


 COMMENT 358437 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-30 08:57 AM

For birds, there are many names for individual species; for trees, not so. On sending my pictures, I was curious and did an online search. Yes, grove and stand and so forth for trees as a whole, but very few for individual species, as, for instance, a murder of crows or a fling of sandpipers. A "string" of palms, for instance, would be more descriptive of the way they were planted than the tree itself. Curious!


 COMMENT 358471 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-30 10:32 AM

So I think we should come up with proper tree group names ourselves.

There could be a crash of eucalyptus, a mess of jacarandas, a rustle of aspens, a sentry of oaks, a sneeze of acacias, a blight of elms, a snack of avocados...I'm sure there are more.


 COMMENT 358478 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-30 10:43 AM

How much of it does it have to do with poetic license? I mean how many poets or authors waxed artistically about trees when being riveted by the birds in them, under them or around them? We marvel at the songs of birds, the flight they take and colours their plumage make and it's reflected in our language. But trees??? We cut them down for shelter and warmth or plant them for shade or erosion control but poetically we wax not for them. :(


 COMMENT 358490P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-30 11:17 AM

A plethora of palms. Poetic license and adaptation of popular names over time?


 COMMENT 358514 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-30 11:58 AM

476: funny! Still curious and remembering from childhood, the last time I spent much time hearing poems, the Kilmer poem:

I think that I shall never see/ A poem lovely as a tree. ...
A tree that may in summer wear/ A nest of robins in her hair; ... Poems are made by fools like me,/ But only God can make a tree.

And then googled and found there were about 19,000,000 results for "poems about trees" and 15,200,000 for "poems about birds". Go figure!


 COMMENT 358525 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-30 01:05 PM

Can you post a link to a higher res copy of the second photo? (The harbor with the boats and clouds.) I love that picture and would like to add it to the photos I use for my screen saver. If you'd rather not, I understand.


 COMMENT 358527 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-30 01:11 PM

Considering that only about 3% of the trees in town are indigenous...how about a "transient of trees",or an "immigration of flora".


 COMMENT 358560P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-30 03:08 PM

Terrific REX. Thanks for making me LOL. Love the names.


 EDSUP agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-31 01:25 PM

How 'bout a Parade of Palms?


 COMMENT 358977 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-01 08:56 AM

358525: you probably can get my address from edhat; I'd need to know what size you want — I don't have my pictures posted online, with links for access. I could make you a copy. —Betsy


 COMMENT 359005 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-01 10:24 AM



23% of comments on this page were made by Edhat Community Members.



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