|Cottony egg sacks of the hemlock adelgid|
This name suits me because, first of all, I love plants and trees. Especially big, ancient trees. I'm one of those hikers that will go far out of my way to see the largest (or second largest) tree in the state. I will run up to it and stretch out my arms to see just how massive the trunk is. I love imagining what changes they've seen in the world, and what it's like to be rooted to the same spot year after year.
Eastern hemlocks are tall, graceful trees. They are a dominant tree in much of the southeastern Appalachians, and are an important part of the forest ecosystem, providing shade to Rhododendrons and streamside plants, and food and shelter for lots of animals. But the adelgid is changing all of that. Already, I've seen mountainsides of North Carolina dotted with the gray snags of dead hemlock. It makes me sad to imagine what the all the forests will be like without hemlocks. Hemlocks make me think about how fragile ecosystems are, how fragile we all are.
I like the name because it also refers to poison hemlock, a herbaceous plant used to kill Socrates. So "hemlock" has a dangerous connotation. Maybe the name will remind me to be tough.