From a distance, I could only see one color green when I approached this field. It wasn’t until I got up close when I realized there were flowers in the field and it took a while for me to count over a dozen different species of plants hidden in plane sight in a field I had walked by many times but only now stopped to lay in. During a course I took this semester called “ecological imaginings”, we read a number of texts discussing ecological and environmental issues. An idea that was brought up during our discussions and that I connected with and feel is important to share is the idea of intimacy with the land being the key to the health of our environment. Terry Tempest Williams’ An Unspoken Hunger, Timothy Morton’s “Ecology without Nature”, and Thomas Berry’s “The Dream of the Earth” are texts we read during the course that touched on this concept each in their own unique way. Morton illustrates how we can be cognitively intimate with nature, Berry suggests ways in which we could be more intellectually intimate with the earth, and Williams shows us how becoming physically intimate with the land will fix our relationship with the environment.
The botanical tour that the people in the other class lead us on was very interesting. I liked learning about the plants in Morris Woods while actually being able to see them and touch them. One of the things that our tour guides had us do was to smell the leaves of two similar looking plants. Smell is not a sense I would usually think to use when comparing plants but these plants had two clearly different smells so this ended up being the easiest way to tell them apart. This made me wonder what else I was missing by using mostly only my sight to interact with plants. In William’s book she talks about loving the land, but you cannot be intimate with the land if you are only using one of your senses to interact with it. I really liked that we used multiple senses to interact with the plants we were being shown during the tour.
“Black Women and the Wilderness” by Evelyn White reminded me of something that I briefly mentioned during a conversation in class at the beginning of the semester; that it is harder for women to go outside and feel free and safe in nature. The reason that this is, is the same reason for us as it was for Evelyn White and other black women at her time. Because of the imbalance of power between men and women or white and black, women and especially black women need to worry about their safety when they are in the wilderness and do not have the protection of a locked door, their friends, and their family. I feel really strongly about wanting to change this because all people deserve to feel like they can live comfortably in our natural environment and explore the earth.