After visiting the Harriton house Thursday, I decided to approach this week’s serendip posting from a more “historical” standpoint. That is, what did my spot next to the pond behind Rhodes look like 100 years ago? In order to do this, I also needed to alter my ecological perspective of my place—and effected this alteration through the removal of students and buildings that are now Bryn Mawr College. Bryn Mawr College was founded 126 years ago, and although some aspects of the college have remained the same, I imagine that things must have been much different back then. I pictured the pond next to where I sat, more carefully kept, without the fence surrounding the perimeter. I could see women in dresses strolling along the hillside, books in hand—maybe engaging in small talk with a peer as she descended down to the edge of the pond. Of course, there are none of the mowers to assail the quiet, and no computers in lieu of a worn, leafed through book. Instead of other academic institutions, I like to picture a more rural surrounding of my place. I can see fields looking past the pond to the left, and can make out the outline of the Harriton farm if I narrow my eyes and look to my right. The air is clean, and laden with the smell of wassail and dry leaves; I can see bursts of crimson and orange scattered across the ground and on the muddy surface of the pond.
I realize that this may not be remotely similar to what the college looked like 100 years ago, but just the motion of trying to picture it in a different time period allowed me to see the experience at Bryn Mawr from a different window of perspective. Although it may seem like a useless exercise, I feel the need to argue the opposite. We talked a great deal about sustainability yesterday at the Harriton House, and how the appearance of the farm has changed in order to achieve sustainability. This made me think about sustainability and how looking at something through a different perspective could allow room to see improvement. Sustaining is not to say that things do not change, but survive (looping back to the definition of the comic hero discussed in Meeker’s essay as the character who is only “trying to survive”). This week was very cyclical for me, and I was glad to see all the ideas we discussed in class connect.
I also apologize for the later posting. I had a very long bus ride to Wellsley today!