I attend, not always with joyful appreciation, the way wording will set a tone, give a judgment, tell the audience what to think (the conclusion), and so on. A person need not be critical or reject this, but it does pay to keep in mind that many happy expressions are little more than sizzle without the bacon or represent fluff with little real content. When a road carries the name Trail it is no longer what I knew as trails for foot or bike outside Hoyt Lakes. At least to my recollection none of the trails I took was two lane and allowed travel at fifty five miles an hour. Calling a road a Trail has nice tourist value, something namers and planners get over when things boom and it is just plain silly to call a major artery the Hennepin Trail or the University Pathway. In many cases a name and the current reality are far removed. In many places you’d need a lifetime of search to find an elm on streets bearing that name. I don’t call for accuracy, however, because a street called Done In By Dutch Elm is at the least very cumbersome signage. The idea is to be wary of names or words guiding the mind to questionable assumptions.

Among my favorites these days is going down a produce aisle in a North Shore grocery and seeing a cheery sign alerting me to Organic Bananas. The first time I saw such an alert I must have stood there entire minutes trying to conjure up an inorganic banana. Some may say I’m not fussy enough, but show me a carrot or potato or banana and I think (I believe rightly so) that object is organic and did not come into being inside a kiln or stamping machine. Now, if I return to the humdrum banana, I believe I have never seen a banana that was not organic enough to pass muster as a genuine tree-grown commodity. I give an OK for all bananas as organic. What the sign is trying to say is how the banana was supposedly grown, though really (I’m going to outrage many in the sanctuary of food faith) I think the distinction in growing styles is a lot less than thoroughly secure or (sacrilege) valid. I’d be more confident of the claim if I knew more of the source. Is it the farmer, the farm, or an individual banana tree that gets the right to say it is organic? If sixty five percent of a farm passes as organic does the entire operation get to proudly wear the label?

To be most secure in the claim I’d expect individual trees would have to be proven as meeting the standard so the produce of those trees could then get the correct sticker (no sticker seems to me organic) attaching it to the Pineapple People, the Lady with the fruited hat, or the Organic Druid folk. (Ideally each banana clump would be tested, but that brings us right back to the over encumbered world found on Done In By Dutch Elm Street SE.) Considering there are essentially no bananas grown commercially in the Northland we are looking at a product that arrived here by the inorganic means of getting onboard a jet cargo plane. In my opinion if a banana crosses international and state borders via air travel it darn well ought to have a passport or some other form of ID to identify it. In the end we get rather farm from the discussion of what organic means. Ultimately the decision seems to fall to the person with the white paper and colored markers to proclaim and honor this banana or that as Hail To Thee ORGANIC! (I’ve wandered a few spacious aisles in North Country groceries and would not be all that secure trusting the conclusions of people I’ve seen plying a marker to give odd lettering sequences to banana or cantaloupe or zucchini, etc. which can come out rather fancifully in colored script.)

In general it’s a good deal easier to not think too much about things that will only seem to grow more difficult the more we question. You can guess, however, how quickly I was hit trouble in early grammar school when told certain things had to be accepted (believed) on faith. This continued (got worse, actually) with Plane and then Solid Geometry. I was an insufficiently devout acolyte which at the time was termed “lazy” and “needs to pay attention in class.” I was paying attention, but not to them. Makes all the difference, that. The suggestion was made (quite often as I recall) that I stop butting in with every this and that. People still make the suggestion, at times vigorously with “Go away” or “Don’t interrupt” as ways I might get out of their way. It would be nice to not be so full of objections, but I think it’s too late. Perhaps it always was. The spotted leopard wears the fate it lives.

Soldiering on, I’ve told certain of the faithful that I am disagreeable and difficult because God made me so and I not going to argue the point with Him. This seems to sufficiently annoy them that they cast me off as a hopeless case; often the best news of the day.  I don’t tell them to not be as they are. In fact, I firmly hold that others should follow their path; that is until they take it on their own account to spell banana oddly, define organic, and expect agreement from me. I leave them their dreams and little else save maybe a small dab of wisdom I’ve borrowed from others. There are times I enjoy sharing bits of the accumulated wisdom of the ages. “How beautiful on the mountain are the feet carrying peace.” Isn’t that a nice one? It’s very calming. I’d suppose all cultures have wisdom two of my favorites I associate as Polish. “Work will teach you how to do it.” “If they give you lined paper, write the other way.” Such wisdom I can follow.