Rochelle W.'s blog
There is a radio show called This American Life that recently did a show entitled Animal Sacrifice. The second act of the show was about rabbits that were kidnapped from the Portland Meat Collective. The segment addresses ideas about vegetarianism, different opinions on killing animals, and human connectedness/disconnectedness from the food we eat. I thought this was very relevant to what we have been discussing in class
Here is this link if you want to listen: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/480/animal-sacrifice
The backyard of the English house was covered in a thin layer of fog, on Saturday morning. The majority of the trees were completely bare of their leaves. The small tree with shiny leaves still had all of its leaves, they seemed to be more green than ever in the midst of the grey fog and the brown branches that surrounded it. The vines that hugged some of the trees was still alive and green. This was my last site sit and everything was damp and sad. I was slightly saddened by the fact that this was to be my last site sit (although it did not have to be, I can go back to the Backyard of the English house anytime I please, really). I would like to think that everything behind the English House was saddened by this fact as well, and that they would miss semi-scheduled presence. Everything sure did look pretty sad back there. The grass was more droopy than usual, the trees hid themselves in fog, and everything was damp. But perhaps I’m just being self centered.
Picture this: A city where some houses stand in water that has risen to the windows of their second floor. Other houses do not stand at all but now only consist of a basement filled with the former first floor and a roof to cover it up. Cars are flipped onto their sides and crushed like cardboard boxes. There are fallen trees, scattered planks of wood, broken glass, and upturned furniture lining some streets, and slow moving rivers where other street used to be. There are no people. Everyone has left.
I haven’t read much about eroticism, but I know have two essays on the topic under my belt. The First is an essay by Audre Lorde entitled “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power”, and the second is Williams’ essay “Yellowstone: The Erotics of Place”. In her essay Lorde defined the erotic in part as a deep feeling of satisfaction, not inherently sexual. One of the ways this manifests itself for her is the sharing of joy with another person. In Williams’ essay she wrote of a person’s joyous response to their echo. Her understanding of the echo extended past simply the sound that reverberates off of a surface. For her it was the land itself responding. An echo represented an interaction with the land. In her essay Lode doesn’t extend the meaning of the erotic to include the land. I think it’s interesting that both women arrived at the same place, a place of joy and satisfaction, by taking two very different paths. Did you understand the way Williams used the erotic in a similar, or different way than I did?
It was cold behind the English House this morning. I could feel it mostly on the tips of my body. The leaves on the trees and the ones on the ground were not as colorful as they were last time. It was not as hard to take it all in. Everything seemed a bit more dull. The leaves were not falling as quickly as they were last time, probably because there were not as many that needed to fall. I sat on the little wooden stool this time instead of on the ground. As I looked out over the yard I considered whether or not it was a wild place. Wild like a human mother who embraces her inner mother bear, and who is not afraid to rise to anger, or settle into intense love. I decided that it wasn’t. Because I think if the back yard of the English House had a choice it would not grow that way it’s growing now. It wouldn’t be so neat. Now it’s tame yard, similar to a woman who has been taught that it’s not feminine to show aggression. But for the yard, I think that’s okay.
It’s a beautiful day today. The sun is warm and the sky is clear. I am very happy to be outside.
The trees behind the English house don’t discriminate among themselves by class, gender, race or sex (or if they do I can’t tell). The trees probably have some sense of sex difference among themselves, but I’m not sure if they have any sense of the meaning of class gender or race. These words probably don't mean much to the trees (most likely for the better). But the English House itself signifies wealth and higher class. Mostly because of what goes on inside of it -- students learning and professors teaching and working. College in this country is not something that is limited to people of a higher class, but is a place that is harder for people of a lower class to get to. This means that the people around the backyard of the English house would usually be a part of the upper middle class. It isn’t the trees themselves that make race gender and class significant, it’s this people who surround the trees, and the perceptions of those people.
Last Thursday we discussed hurricane Sandy. We talked about the tendency humans have developed to rebuild in the path of destruction rather than to relocate to a safer and more stable environment. We tried to answer the question of whether or not that is the rational or correct action to take in a post-disaster situation (I still am not completely sure about this). I think this tendency to rebuild kind of relates to one point that Jamaica Kincaid made in her article “Alien Soil”. The point was English people have a tendency to “obsessively order and shape their landscape”. Kincaid says the Europeans did that so much so on the island of Antigua that the island is now prone to drought. The Europeans did not work with what was already on the island when they got there, rather they tore it apart and attempted to put it back together with pieces from all around to world. They worked against the island instead of with it, which is essentially what the residence of New York and New Jersey are doing now as they attempt to rebuild their cities. Similar to how Antigua is prone to drought because of how it has been altered and built upon, the cities along the East Coast of the United States are prone to destruction because of where they have been built. We are not paying attention to the way the Earth is shaped and to the way it moves, and living accordingly. Instead we are attempting to shape it to our liking and ignoring the way it moves, seemingly to our detriment.
The changed leaves covered the gorund and it looked like a mosaic. The individual leaves themselves were like small mosaics. It was hard for my eyes to take it all in. It was suppriging to see how much the back yard of the English had changed since I was there last. It is similar to a growing changing preson, but more repeative I guess. When the wind blew the leaves let go of their branches and sky dived to the ground (brave leaves), only to be crushed back into the earth under my feet -- eventually re-entering the tree in a different form. The sky was grey. The ai felt nice, and it smelled nice also. I was surprised at how upset I was when found that the ferns were brown and droopy and dead.
I went to the English house in the morning this time and I felt more exposed than I usually do. There were professors coming into the parking lot in their cars, and I could hear people walking to and from the Russian house which usually does not happen in the evening. When I entered the backyard of the English house a squirrel scrambled back and forth and back and forth for cover. I suggested that she(?) should calm down, she didn’t listen, but ran it into the woods and up a tree. I sat in the damp grass because it felt like the right thing to do. I faced out towards the woods (it’s interesting that I never sit facing the English House). Bees bounced through the vine covered tree and in the grass. Squirrels bravely leapt. Birds took off and landed. Sunlight streamed gracefully through the trees. Cotton ball white clouds floated easily across the sky-blue sky covers everything. While leaning back and looking up I saw movement from the corner of my eye. I thought it was another squirrel, I Iooked down and saw that it was a buck walking across the opening to the woods. I gasped quietly, and it nodded at me. I laughed and it nodded again before walking off.