Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field.

This whole naming thing is incredibly important.

I do not write fiction, but if I did, here is what I would write. It’s a story about a lonely middle-aged man who lives in a little town in the desert of California. These are pathetic towns, where the marginal go to live, all real estate fantasy and sad tourism. Imagine an old weed-grown miniature golf course that no one’s played on in years. I once sat in a McDonalds in Yucca Valley and saw a poor old leathery woman buy a small cup of coffee, drink it half down and then fill the empty space with those little plastic things of half-and-half. Food.

The man befriends a desert rat of a woman, and they sit in her backyard on spring days and she teaches him the names of the birds that frequent the feeder she lovingly stocks with seed. Knowing the names of the birds becomes incredibly important for the man, where knowledge is dominion and the name is the token of the knowledge.

I do not know my Bible well enough to be sure, but that’s what I think is going on in that passage of Genesis I quote above. God bids Adam name things, and therein lies the human’s dominion over every beast of the field, and the fowl of the air.

I love to learn the names of things.