It is the darkest time of year in the Northern Hemisphere, months before the growing season, and I am casting about for names.

The birth date is always January 1st. And a name must be found before February of the second

year. Six names for each, listed in order of preference, for someone else to decide.

Each name no more than eighteen characters, no initials no trade names, no numbers except

those above thirty and only if they are spelled out.

No words like colt or filly. No racetracks or famous winners. No name that’s already in use or that’s ever been named.

I carry a book with me for writing down names as they come— pruning back the winter garden, glancing at the clock, pouring a drink:

Sudden Flight, Traveller’s Hymn, Treasured Time, Rags to Riches, Blind Faith, Sphinx’s Riddle, Praise the Painter, Second Harvest, Merchant’s Dream, Constant Optimist.