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Web Paper Event # 4

Hira Ismail

 

Final Web Paper # 4

 

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Final Teach-In

Attached are the geometric shapes and our attempt to represent them!

They have been scanned side to side so it is easier to see the original and the drawing on one single page.

Enjoy :)

(This is for Sruthi, Graham, and I )

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Final Site-Sit

I decided I would observe Rhoads Pond this last time with my eyes closed. After the wonderful experience of "seeing" the campus with Carmen, I had the desire to do the same with my site-"sit."

It was unnerving! Especially the last part. The first part was still calm. I took a deep breath, dropped my bag, closed my eyes, and went. I had my hands in front of me. It was really pretty cold but I didn't want to wear my gloves because that would numb my sense of touch which I frankly couldnt' afford. Walking my site "blind" was a bit intimidating. I didn't have the reassurance of a 15 person class to hold onto. But I could go at my own pace which helped. The first place I reached was the tree I had initially chosen as my spot to sit in the beginning of the semester, the one situated right outside the pond fence. This whole endeavor was interesting because it was a place that I am so familiar with now visually. This was a test of that familiarity. As I felt the branches, I found it soothing to have something to hold onto. I surprised myself by knowing the shape of the tree pretty well. I reached up and grabbed onto branches I knew were there; as I slowly circled the tree I guessed the location of the bumps and the branches and knew when to duck underneath an overhanging part. I definitely leaned on it at one point, in a sort of hug. I was able to recognize where the extra growth was and use that to orient myself when I started leaving the tree to walk toward the fence. 

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Sunday December 9th-2 excursions outside

Our trip into Ashbridge Park was great and went so fast it was surprising. I liked that it was lightly, not heavily structured, and that we had room to move around. Walking down to the creek was my favorite unstructured activity that day, and doing the chant at the beginning which incorporated movement and noise really well. I thought it was interesting to make a sound impact on our environment; I remember testing this out tentatively in my Rhoads Pond Site Sit by singing. I had been initially hesitant to make too much noise at first because I didn't want to disturb the surroundings, but then I realized I was separating the environment from myself by doing that. So I sang, to be a part of it all. And that was similar to what I felt we all were doing with this initial chant. Becoming a part of it all. In a non-harmful way (hopefully). As for walking down to the creek, finding a nice pathway to walk on the way down and a more complicated path on the way back up was something I did; it helped change up the experience a little. Reaching the creek I touched the water, and eetong mentioned the oil that was floating on top of the water and mixing with the rest of the creek. This surprised me, I wouldn't have noticed it without her pointing it out. It was disappointing to see oil there, I wondered where it was coming from. Also, running the poetry activity was nice; it was nice to hear it read aloud outside. Poetry is better read outside or with sunlight or natural light or just wind coming in, I've always thought.

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Web Paper Event # 3

Hira Ismail

Ecological Imaginings

Cross-Cultural “Nature” Writing

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Geological/Botanical Tour

When I initially was told we would be taking a geological tour around campus, I was wondering what exactly we'd be looking at. I didn't think of a water-site as immeditely factoring into a geological tour, but the ESEM students took us to the section of Mill Creek behind Batten House and talked about it's relation to geology. One of the students mentioned how rivers and water beds form by running through softer rock. If at first softer rock is blocking a water sources progress, eventually the water will wear down this rock and create an elongated pathway. As we walked through campus, the ESEM students shared how the time frame in which Bryn Mawr College's various buildings were built was also reflected by the rock used to make it. Pembroke and Radnor are made of wichenschist, Taylor and Merion of Baltimore gnisse. Many of the dorms also have bits of mica within the building rock "brick", a rock that literally sparkles in the sunshine and adds a shine to the outer building. I also found out that limestone is absorbant of water, and the rocks outside the gym doors that I thought were purely there for decoration suddenly gained an actual purpose. These rocks were placed immediately under a pipe on the roof of the gym that dripped excess rain water; the limestone caught the water and prevented it from spreading too much. Upon examination, it was easy to see where the limestone had been affected; it had turned from a starker white to a significantly green color in some spots.

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Bridge at Night!

So as I decided last time, I wanted to walk the stone bridge at night. I went this time as the sun had already started setting, and it struck me how quiet it was. Or rather how quiet it became, because as I was descending the hill, I could clearly hear the ducks/geese quacking in the pond. When I got down to the lake however and decided to cross the fence, they quieted down, probably sensing my presence. When I go in the late afternoons, there is often so much background noise; either the athletics teams are cheering or there is some traffic noise. Eventually though, they quacked lightly and shifted their positions in the pond. I think some were settling and trying to sleep. This is the first time in all my visits that I've gotten to see ducks, so I was very pleased and excited by this. As I stood out on the bridge, I remember thinking that animal life can be very noisy too; it's not just humans who can be loud. I could hear the ducks all the way from Goodhart when I was approaching.

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Class Field Trip

I find the Mill Creek excursion or the prospect of walking along a river the most appealing. In my 2nd Web Paper, I proposed picking up the litter along Rhoads Pond, and Prof Dalke suggested possibly fitting that activity into our walk along Mill Creek, if that is what we end up choosing. As for the walk along a river, I think that would be a useful trip; we could treat it like a Thoreauvian Walk and amble and let things happen along the way. Part of the class might be structured, maybe we could have some activities, but I think kind of letting the experience happen along the way might have its merits too.

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Site in the Snow/Sleet

I visited the site in the snow/sleet and at night. These were two major changes to how I am used to seeing the Pond, so I found this to be a new experience. The water was dark, the trees were barely lit up by the lights from Rhoads dorm, so I did not venture out on the rock bridge this time. I did however stand at the fence and freeze. The cold has a way of waking me up, and it was snowing and the wind was very strong. I was so distracted by all these elements that I could barely pay attention to the site itself. It's been such a long time since I've seen snow, and coming from Arizona originally, I only really get to experience it when I'm here. So I was ecstatic, couldn't stay still, or pay attention to my surroundings much. The one thing I did notice though was the water. It was glistening in the surrounding lamplight and it literally looked like it was casting its own light rather than reflecting projected light. Once I noticed the water, I paid more attention; it was easy to see the rain drops cutting into the water, melding with it, and moving it. The water levels grew slowly higher and it was so so cold. I remeber feeling so overjoyed and all of my surroundings were friendly this time, rather than intimidating like they were during my Thoreauvian walk in the night. I thought of Sara G.'s post about how we project our own feelings onto our surroundings, perceiving our surroundings through the tunnel of our emotions. That felt just about right; I feel like that was precisely what was happening in this situation.

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Web Paper Event # 2

Hira Ismail

November 5, 2012 

Web Paper Event # 2

Class Proposal

 

     In my initial Thoreauvian walk, what I concentrated on was my walk amongst the trees, and my varying reactions to the trees at night versus in the day. This time, I ended up concentrating on something that has been tugging at the back of my mind, which made me wonder about its presence on the rest of the campus. While doing my site-sits throughout this semester, I’ve been noticing how much waste has been left around the area of Rhoads Pond. This made me wonder how often people actually do visit the pond, not just to look at it from afar, but to explore and walk along the edges. There are wine bottles and plastic bags and forgotten balls. I’ve seen cigarette packs and many other various items strewn around the bridge, and some have made their way into the water itself. My proposal for a class session then would be to have our entire class go to Rhoads Pond in order to clean up the area. Throughout the class, we have explored ways in which to represent our environment, in order to influence our community to help restore it. I think it would be useful to participate in restoration ourselves. The site-sits have been designed with the idea that we as students should really know and understand our campus before we graduate and lose the chance. Having a class in which we clean and leave the grounds on which our campus lies healthy would be the natural next step.  

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