Hello, everyone! I posted my thoughts on my portion of a teach-in here: http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/song-ourselves but comments don't have a picture uploading option, and I was having some troubles "copying" my photos. Thus, here they are now!
For this week's assignment, I thought I would try to describe ecofeminism to a hypothetical male Haverford
student. But, seeing as I'm a teenager, I did it on
I thought going back to my site sit would be scary. I've walked past the tree a few times, and it's lost most of its leaves. Its silver branches and a some auburn, dead leaves (mostly on one side of the tree) are all that remain of the lush, green tent I used to sit in. I went to my site sit when it was dark, too, so I thought that I wouldn't feel very comfortable in the tree anymore. But, the only really unsettling thing about my site sit was that all of the leaves were gone. People could see inside and I could see them with remarkable clarity. The tree has changed it's physicality for the season, and its atmosphere has, too. The frightening mystery I first felt at the beginning of the semester would have been gone even if the tree had kept its green leaves. The tree and I are pretty "chill" now. I wouldn't say that we're going to be best friends any time soon, but I've gotten used to it, at least a few branches of it. I don't know what I'll do in the tree when the semester is over, but I think I'll visit from time to time to say hello.
When I was trying to come up with something to write on Tuesday night, I saw, in the corner of Ecological Imagining's homepage, the title of a new blog post that sounded interesting. It was about smoking and Bryn Mawr, which are things that I just read about in the book about Bryn Mawr, Offerings to Athena: 125 Years at Bryn Mawr. So, I was really excited to write about this, and I did. But when I went to comment on the post, I realized that it had been made on a different part of Serendip, for a class called "Walled Women." Serendip seems like a little corner of the Internet, just for me and Ecological Imaginings, but it isn't, and I wish I could meet and comment on the posts of all the lovely Mawrters who are also on Serendip. But, since that is unlikely, I will just post the link to the article I read and my response.
A couple of days ago, we read Timothy Morton's "Introduction: Toward a Theory of Ecological Criticism." Although we discussed in class yesterday that Morton's dense and hard to read language makes sense, because his work is literary criticism, not an explanation of a theory he came up with, I still have some issues with the style of the excerpt. Mainly, my issue with the style is that it is what it says it is: an introduction. I dislike the style of introductions. They simultaneously summarize the work they preface, and their authors try to weave a separate narrative throughout the introduction. But this makes me impatient. Introductions just drag on and on, almost getting to the point, and then digressing to talk about something unrelated to fill the pages and sound impressive. Introduction just make me want to either get to the darn book, and turn me completely off of it. With this introduction, I just wanted to read the book, and get past the fluff. I appreciated what Morton was trying to do, and I'm certainly glad that I didn't have to read his whole book for class in one night. However, that doesn't mean I am at all satisfied with introductions, especially the one at hand. I just wanted to read what it was failing to summarize eloquently and actually find out the content.
I went on a geological and biological tour of campus with Susan and Maddie from our class and Max and Sarah S from English 313. We spent about the recommended times on everything we were supposed to (a half an hour to get to know each other and then forty-five minutes for each tour), but we didn't split it up so exactly, we talked about things as they became relevant to the environment we were in, which I thought worked out pretty well. We had room to discuss what we needed to and inform each other, but we were also able to have more of a conversation, and bring things back up if we had forgotten to say them earlier, or wanted to expand on them a little more.
Today was the most perfect fall day in the tree. I wasn't cold at all, or excessively warm. (Note: I did not have to do jumping jacks. Any day that I don't have to do jumping jacks to stay warm is a pretty good day) I was a bit skeptical when I approached the tree, because its leaves have not turned to a shocking red or a bright yellow, but a slightly icky in-between color of caramel, yellow, and light green. (On one leaf! The horror!) But the leaves inside the tree were (thank goodness!) a nicer yellow, with fewer dead leaves. The air was crisp, but the slight breeze that tickled the outside of the tree, didn't touch me. There was enough light to see under the tree, and, when I emerged, a slight pink was blending with the blue sky at the horizon. It was a good day.
Today in class, we began by writing about how our families and their relationships to the earth have shaped us and our relationships with nature. I'm overly fond of my family history, so this was a really fun exercise for me. I started out by going on and on about a lot of different family members, but after writing in class, I realized that my mom has actually been the biggest influence on my relationship with nature. Having moved around a lot in the US, one of the constants has always been my mom. Of all of my family, her relationship to the earth has really shaped me the most. Don't get me wrong--my father and my mother have both instilled in me an appreciation of the beauty of nature. But the other aspects of my mom's relationship with nature, and her family's relationship with it, has molded my feelings the most.
Last night, my site was different than usual. For one, I visited the site at night. The tree I sit under has also lost a lot of leaves. When I was wondering around last night, trying to find my usual branch, I was scared out of my wits. The tree looked incredibly different--I wasn't sure if I was looking in the right tree. And I couldn't see any squirrels (which is not a good thing, because they have become very fond of sneaking up on me). So, despite not being very religious? I said the Hail Mary out loud over and over again. But, after I'd found the spot andfoully checked out the tree with my flashlight for squirrels, I managed to settle down a lot. The only noise I could hear was from humans. I could hear myself, and also a lot of noise from Radnor and a few people walking by the tree. The piece of "nature" I go to every weekend is really not in nature. Now that the leaves aregoing, it no longer even looks like that might bepossible. It's very touches by the well-to-do "nature" of the college. It's even touched by religion.
I chose to have class today in the Quita Woodward Room because of its windows. Goodhart's glass atrium would have given us a more panoramic, uninterrupted view, but it was closed for student use because of the production. So, the Quita Reading Room it was! I'm really glad that we ended up having class there (although sorry for the short notice!)--it was warm and the wood paneling and bookshelves made it all the more cozy.
From where I was sitting, there was a large tree right in view, and Rock seemed to almost create a courtyard around it. The wind was twirling its branches all around, and it seemed to have lost quite a lot of its yellow leaves because of it. I was certainly very glad to be out of that storm! A major downfall of not being outside was the lack of noise, though. If we had been out in that windstorm, I could have heard the wind whipping through that tree. Instead, I heard myself typing notes about the view. More isolated from the outdoors than usual, I wrote instead of observing. There are quite a lot of distractions outside, but I usually give them all equal weight, instead of being more involved in note-taking than the actual class.
That being said, I was still a lot more comfortable out of the cold. Especially now that winter is coming, I'll just have to get used to observing inside, and find a balance between reflecting on my surroundings and paying attention to them.