Digital Flowers

Anemone hupehensis var japonica_Japanese Anemone_BellevueBG-WA_LAH_6758.nefWe name our computers. Doesn’t everyone?

No, we don’t consider them pets. (Although we do name our chickens, and they are pets to a great degree.)

We name our computers because we have so many. I work from home, Pete’s ministry occupies an office in town that he shares with co-workers, and we’re all networked together—hence, lots of computers. They have to have names so the network can tell them apart. And while we could have given them any names at all, that just seemed boring. We decided to stick with a theme.

Our computers are all named for flowers. That’s what happens when you have a gardener in the family. (If I’d started birding sooner, they might have had bird names instead.)

Sweet pea_DBG_LAH_4420At first it was easy. We started back when names were limited to eight letters. My favorite flowers are sweet peas, and happily Sweetpea barely made the length cut-off. Pete (my husband) and I have two daughters, so we named his old laptop Poppy.

Then Pete acquired a desktop computer as well. He’s pretty smart, so I named that one Sage. Technology progressed, so when I eventually added a laptop for speaking engagements and travel, longer names were an option. My laptop is bright yellow—Buttercup yellow.

CosmosSometimes we have no problem coming up with an appropriate flower. We have a co-workers who loves orchids and another who loves roses. One year we rented some extra office space to an amateur astronomer. Of course his computer had to be “Cosmos.”

Now, after many years, my beloved Sweetpea can’t accommodate the huge files my new camera creates. My old computer will be playing a new role at Pete’s office; I’m getting a faster replacement. Once again I have to pick a flower. Who would have thought that choosing a name for a computer would be such a weighty proposition? You’d think I was naming a baby!

I quickly came up with some options, and just as quickly ruled them out. Who wants a computer named Soapwort or Fleabane? Nor would most people pick Spider Flower, Dead Nettle, or Gumweed.

Physostegia virginiana_Obedient Plant_DBG_LAH_7141Chocolate Flower appealed to me, but it’s too long. So are Love-lies-bleeding and Bleeding Heart. (They’re a bit on the gory side as well.) In fact, lots of flowers have long, involved names. Think Morning Glory, Partridge Feather, and Obedient Plant (right), to name just a few. While long names are allowed, it’s much more convenient to keep things short.

I wanted something short, to the point, something that non-gardeners would recognize as a flower. Selfheal, Gaura, and Puccoon aren’t exactly everyday words.

After much deliberation I finally narrowed the choices to three finalists: Anemone (top photo), Peony, and Thyme (I reasoned I spend a lot of time at my computer). Then I got stuck. How in the world could I decide?

Finally, I asked for help. Pete (who was waiting with amazing patience for me to pick a name, so he could get on with loading software) pointed out that Anemone could refer either to the flower or the flower-like marine animal. That was significant because I studied marine biology in college, and spent a lot of time looking at sea anemones.

Anemone1I should add a little blurb about sea anemones. Members of the phylum Coelenterata, they are closely related to coral and jellyfish. In fact, you can think of their basic body plan as a jellyfish turned upside down—a sac with tentacles all around the open end. Sea anemones start life as tiny planktonic larvae but eventually settle down, usually by attaching themselves to a rock or other solid object. They then live the rest of their very long lives (over a hundred years in some species) in one spot, dining on whatever happens to come along. I happen to think sea anemones are fascinating, but then I think everything alive is fascinating.

So, back to my new computer. Anemone it is. I hope my it proves to be as sturdy as the flowers and as long-lived as the animals for which it is named.

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