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In Nature's Wake

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy it was a feeling of difference that struck me at my site, rather than remarkable visual changes. I was recently reading Derrida's thoghts on the difference that a letter (specifically "a" between difference and différance) can make; that was my inspiration for this account of my morning...

Autumnal

Bare

Calm

Dull

Envision

Frigid

Golden

Hues

Invigorating

Jagged

Knotty

Luminous

Macabre

Nature

Overcast

Pieces

Quiet

Recovery

Soft

Tumultuous

Undone

Voracious

Waking

Xenogenous

Yearly

Zonated

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"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower"

Today I collected leaves. Now I have autumn in my room.

Most adventurous site sit. Didn't stay in one place. Trees around me aren't very diverse, I wanted more different leaves. You can't always get what you want. 

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Portraits

In our representations of this campus, our images were starkly bare of humans. Usually from my spot near the end of senior row I can watch a trickle of people either making the trek up-campus from Brecon or down-campus to the gym or Park.

Perhaps the week before break at 7am was not the best time for this site-sit experiment, but as ekthorp said when she held onto her decision to have class outside, I wanted to stick to my plan.

So here is a view of human activity from my site-sit. People were staying on the sidewalks, following the man-made paths and giving me what felt like a distant vantage point. My photo quality is testament to that, although it works to my advantage for maintaining the anonymity of my subjects.

The squirrels and I were in cahoots here; they, unconcerned with me and my stillness on the bench, kept their distance from the people passing by, just as I did. Watching.

At 7:43am the lampposts all blinked off in unison and I noticed that the foggy mist had lifted considerably. 

I felt voyeuristic at first, but then realized that although these people were not looking at me, they could be. I wasn’t hidden, peering out at them; they just weren't looking.

I have to say that I got bored with the people. They were just going. The squirrels were doing. Although I don’t know how many people would want to watch the trees, the bench, the grass, and me just being. 

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"Have Spacesuit- Will Travel"

I wrote my first web event for this course in iambic pentameter. It is pastoral, romanticizing the passing of time, the activities of nature, and my place in it. Anne questioned my use of a “very conventional poetic form.” For one I like poetry and I like that it can paint a picture without having to have me in it as an active character- I tried to make my voice more passive. It also seemed to me to be structured, like our assignment of the walk was, yet also fluid and wandering, like the walk was. Perhaps I used iambic pentameter to foreshadow our reading of Mentz on Shakespeare’s ecological tongue; or perhaps I simply did not have the words.

Having read the theories and ideas put forth by so many authors on what an ecological tongue or literary style might be, I now have some new tools with which to experiment in my imaginings of the ecological.

Let’s see what comes out when I try a retelling of my walk in a sci-fi mode…

 

FIRST TELLING

Where weathered rock and flowing water meet

When hot, moist air retreats at summer’s end;

Above, the vivid boughs do speak of fall

While underfoot the earth prepares for sleep.

The sparrow hops upon the iron rail

While under trees cicadas speak their death.

 

SCI-FI TELLING

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Can't focus? Take a walk

I'm a member of a Facebook group for my grade school and someone posted this link to a blog discussing "groundbreaking research on how spending time in nature affects the human brain." Just thought I would share!

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A Footprint

Here is what I focused on (sound, sight, thoughts) this damp, misty morning. "What's in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet." Writing or speaking a word too many times can make it look or sound strange- wrong. What is in a name?

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What is Fundamental

"Deo, Demeter, the grain-mother, and her daughter/self Kore the Maiden called Persephone, raped by the Godfather's brother and buried to rise again, are myth-images of this relationship, recognized by 'primitive' farmers as fundamental. It is still fundamental, but can be completely ignored by a modem city dweller whose actual experience of plants is limited to florists' daisies and supermarket beans. The igno­rance of the urban poor is blameless; the arrogant ignorance of the urban educated,...is inex­cusable. There is no excuse for deforestation, for acid rain, or for the hunger of two-thirds of the children of the earth."

This excerpt from Le Guin's forward to "Vaster Than Empires..." made me think about my recent move from Seattle to Walla Walla. Seattle feels more connected to nature and ecology than many cities I have been to (it is surrounded by lakes, is on Puget Sound, is framed by mountains) however I have a new awareness about food in Walla Walla that I did not have before. The Palouse stretches forever in one direction, vineyards and farms are everywhere in the other direction. Down the road is the Montiellet Fromagerie goat cheese farm, my 90-year-old neighbor leaves us home-grown tomatoes on the front porch, and three days a week for over half the year there is a farmers market within walking distance with fresh vegitables, fruits, cheeses, baked goods, grains, and meals. 

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Keres Tale

I am going to tell my walking story in the manner of a Keres tale. A dictionary can be found here (Queres = Keres).

FIRST TELLING

Where weathered rock and flowing water meet

When hot, moist air retreats at summer’s end;

Above, the vivid boughs do speak of fall

While underfoot the earth prepares for sleep.

The sparrow hops upon the iron rail

While under trees cicadas speak their death.

KERES TELLING

Not so long ago. In Kuwami from Tidyami the ts'itsi arrived. Here came Shuum'ə Daaw'aatra from Uw'aititaan Daaw'aatra, from Tidyami. K'uisrka went and k'uuchini came to the trees. Many animals go at kasraiti's end. 

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は い く

Week 2: observations

There are some still green

While others have turned yellow

Leaves laying grounded.

 

The grey covers blue

No light has yet broken through

Morning’s clouded sky.

 

Wood gently faded

Here sitting amid the trees

Motionless wood bench.

 

With a nut in mouth

When still, they come next to me

The scampering squirrels.

 

High boughs releasing

Sharp thud and bounce on the ground

Acorns are falling.

 

Being still at first

Cool gusts visit, then they are gone

Morning wind blowing.

 

Silent and yet not

Very few cicadas or birds

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Re-visiting the visited

I chose to revisit the image I chose as my BMC representation. I am going to list the guidewords that are fitting to my representation and some that are not before discussing how I now see my representation.

This image is:

Permaculture

Footprint

Foliage

Campus

Native

See

Adaptation

Green

Ecological

Pattern

Wanderlust

 

This image is not:

Garden

Country

City

Interaction

Know

Anthropocentric

It would be very hard I think for a representation of our campus to be all of the guidewords that we collected as part of our ecological imaginings… as we discussed in class, our campus is much more than the ecological representations that most of our class posted. Our campus is all that plus the people, the buildings, the history, the man-made infrastructure; until we embrace the idea of rheomode (or perhaps, more likely, Goatly’s call for a less Newtonian reality where the “observing instrument and the observed object cannot be wholly separated”) I do not think that we have the language to describe everything all at once. My lens, camera or otherwise, is simply not wide enough.

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