A Labyrinth Stroy
I did not expect such a dramatic, unpleasant yet amusing experience for the last site sit for our ESem. I planned on taking pictures from faraway and close up since most of the time I stayed just at the Labyrinth, which is a rather confined space. I wanted to step back and look at the Labyrinth, in hopes to see something new. I started from the Campus Center and then crossed the Senior Row and reached the Labyrinth. I have always had hard time to orient myself in the area around the Labyrinth. From looking far away, I realized actually it was a very small space. It was the trees and slopes disguised the Labyrinth, making it seem to be sophisticated and unapproachable. I was so absorbed in the walk. Even winter is the season for lives, I could perce the activities going on of the creatures around me.
Maybe I was not outdoorsy enough to manage taking photo and walking on the muddy ground at the same time in a rainy day. Yes I slipped over and fell to the ground when I walked downhill...Obviously I did not feel so well. But I was not frustrated by this little accident - that must be my closest moment to the nature during this semester's site sit! I sat on the ground, looked up to the trees and the sky ,and thought there must be no way to escape from the control of nature and my unpredictable life...
I was warmed by the golden trees and mild sunlight. Sitting under a huge tree, I looked up. I could not see the sky thanks to the layers and layers of twigs and leaves. I did the same thing when the tree was still lively green, however, I felt opressed by the huge crown above me because the green shedded a darkness on me. The golden color, in contrast, reflected the sunshine. I was delighted by the scene. I felt that the crown isolated me from the world physically, but I was still free. A leaf slowly swirled and fell down on the ground. It was serene and peaceful. But I could not forget the fact that this was a sign of death. And I thought of - "If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?"
I walked along the Labyrinth and enjoyed the mild, delightful sunny day. The yellow leaves glowed in the sun. What a serene Sunday morning! Students walked around the campus; field hockey players were in a game; squirrels happily enjoyed the breakfast. The Bryn Mawr bubble created such a peaceful environment for each community member to thrive happily. The Labyrinth did have a complicated structure. The end looked so near at one point, but after I took a turn, the route led me to an outermost ring. Turn around and around, the sense of back and forth, close and far repeated again and again. I felt I was almost there, however, this was an illusion. Because the route I saw was not the route I walked on.
Staying outside in such weather was all about keeping myself warm. I used to feel reluctant to go to my spot because I had to spend an hour there ALONE, and this attitude was soon changed because the I always enjoyed my hour. However, this time the situation was very different. I've been to the Labyrinth in complete darkness, without having breakfast, when I was exhuasted - All types of unpleasant situations, but I always had a positive recover after spending an hour at the Labyrinth. It did not work at all this time. The cold air invaded me. Probably because of the overcast background of the sky, the whole scene looked extremely gloomy. The trees near the Labyrinth were still somewhat lively, but several tress on the Senior Row looked completely spiritless. Even though with or without leaves those trees were quite alive biologically, I didn't feel the cheerfulness that spring/summer green trees usually delivered to me. Keep moving did not warm me up. (I should have gone there today. The sunlight may make a difference...) I was not able to really concentrate on anything and the restless short visit did not last long. I was really disappointed that I was not able to enjoy the visit because I could not resist the low temperature. I was the only one in that area then and honestly there weren't many people committed to outdoor activities these days. However, the squirrels really delighted me. After Sandy, my friend and I were really worried about them because we saw much fewer squirrels around after the hurricane.
Having been off campus most of the time during the fall break, I am very very surprised at how the campus has changed. Specifically, how the plants on Bryn Mawr campus have looked different. My spot, the Labyrinth is just not enough to represent the changes. (No, I'm not changing my spot.) I really want to jot down what I have observed for the change of season. And also I have some to add to the post I wrote at the beginning of fall break (a long time ago, huh), so I need to seperate this week's post to two parts.
a) The season - A manifest fall!
The Labyrinth is such a profound and sophisticated place, yet it is only fourteen years old. The profound sophisticated labyrinth is younger than me? I shake my head, "this recent creation just can not reflect the depth of history!"
Talking about history, several words come up into my mind: past, old, far and gone. However, history is never absence from present. History is accumulative. Interestingly, during the Thursday field trip, I realized that the Harriton House is most certainly a good example of how people make history sustainable. What I mean by "an effort that sustain history"" is an action to "ultilize creations derived from the history." The more than three hundred years of history of the Bryn Mawr town is really a wonderful wonderful story to hear. We need some passionate Welsh, some resistance to flood, some wisdom to survive a business and a lot more to be here at a College grounded on a piece of land that Native Americans gave up the "right to use". This is enough to make the 1704 Harriton House amazing and adorable. One thing I consider to be important in historical sustainability is adaptation. As we preserve historic site, it's crucial to keep in mind that things always change.
The siren of the art gallery in Canaday goes off out of nowhere. I am so pulled away by my work that I am very reluctant to react to the noise. There are at least thirty people on the floor. Actually NO ONE cares about it. It has been five minutes as I finish the work I am doing. The noise becomes louder and louder. Some burglar is around us and the warning bell really wants us to notice! I am finally hearing it. This turns out to be very annoying. The sound even fastened my heart beat. Shall I ask? Shall I leave? Shall I do anything? I know someone is going to fix it – within a short time – because circulation desk is making a phone call about the siren. I know I should definitely stay and work, to prepare for a better weekend. Oh, this is a struggle.
But sorry, I just cannot stay. I am going to the Labyrinth, to calm down myself from the chaos. Unfortunately, those restless crickets just don’t know when to stop!
This has been a busy, easy, chaotic and very unusual Friday night!
For the second time, I returned to the Bryn Mawr Labyrinth to observe. I planned to devote myself to the surrounding itself. I wanted to record the vision, the feel, the smell and the sound. I brought so much curiosity with me when I went. I wanted to figure out if there was anything new? What was different as I went at a different time of the day? Any changes happened during the past seven days? However, as soon as I stayed for just a couple of minutes, I could not help thinking about the word "anthropocentric". This is a word that was accused by one of the writers we had read (I can't specify because I don't remember exactly). As I walked around the Labyrinth, sat on the bench, lay in the hammock, the instinct that - what I saw, felt, smelt, heard was really my own perception only - became stronger and stronger. Every time I moved, my experience was different. Even two places were only one meter apart, the fact that one was in the shade, the other was in the sun changed their property drastically. If there was a writing assignment that asks people to describe the lawn under their feet. One might say the grass was wet, it was true because the area was in the shade. The other person could say the grass was dry, which is no less true as well if the area was in the sun. In most cases, what is recorded is determined by the writer's stand point.
Cold in the morning.
Hammock was damp.
Bench was in shade.
Grass was thick and green, nourished by last night's rain.
Sunshine was soft and clear,
and the sun was hiding from me behind the huge pine-like tree.
Walking in the Labyrinth,
not thinking about the route.
Each step brings me to a new angle of view.
Athletic training was going on at the Applebee.
Sunshine gloriously projected on the wall of Rhoads.
Squirrels sneakily jump up and down the trees.
My hot drink was cooled.
I walked faster to keep myself warm.
One part of the Labyrinth was in the sun:
just like the most inviting slice of pizza - tempting.
I ignored the route I was walking on
and indulged in the gentle slow air flow,
the clear sky
the grass dew
the pleasant quiet alone hour
I spent six minutes walking from the start to the terminal, which was way less time than one time that I cheated. But I felt the course of time should be longer. It reminds me of the Wellness course of last week where we closed our eyes and followed the instruction to breath in and out, which was an extremely relaxing exercise. That was another time when the psychological time I experienced was longer than the physical time. Whenever I am indulged in something, I feel I am doing more with my time.