Towards Day 20 (Mon, Nov. 19): Hunger, Unspoken
The Coyote Clan
weather prediction: 50 degrees, 7 mph winds, 10% chance of precipitation, partly cloudy
rachel is positioning us outside
what have you to say about today's weather/
your relation to it....?
sara.gladwin is in charge for Wednesday...
* we will meet here on Wed, when we will move on from eco-feminism,
to enter the last section of the course, "Ecocritique: Further imaginings"
* please read Aldo Leopold's classic essay on "The Land Ethic"
(if you are leaving campus early for Thanksgiving, we expect you to post your
thoughts about the essay on line before you go, so you can assist our conversation....)
* I don't expect a report on your site sit this week (since most
of us will be inside eating on Thursday afternoon/evening), though
I do expect you to write up your shared exploration w/ the E-Sem'ers
rachelr, cfing Wissahickon Schist & Baltimore Gneiss w/ spice bush & privet:
"So much of what surrounds us has been 'imported,' and
sometimes it’s hard to tell ...what the imposter in the landscape is.
* & I do expect your third "web event" by Sunday evening; be sure to tag it as such
* I have read your second set of web papers--many of these were pedagogical:
graham: alone in the HC Science Center when power went out:
thinking about (radical?) experiential ecological education;
mturer's similar argument that BMC is "ecological illiterate": by "operating electronically,
the institution has distanced itself from participation in the natural world"
Sarah Shaw wrote a short story about a world in which people
eradicated “nature,” covered the earth in a metal compound
a number of you did research into the history of the campus:
sara.gladwin looked @ the erased history of Perry House
ekthorp looked @ Thomas's celebration of the material
"pleasures of success enjoyed by an extraordinary woman”
hira: "students at Bryn Mawr have historically not needed to worry about cleaning up after themselves"
smacholdt on Louis Kahn (architect for Erdman): “A dormitory should not
express a nostalgia for home, it is not a permanent place, but an interim place.”
eetong looked @ the "radical gardening" of our groundskeepers, esp. in maintaining the wildflower areas
* I have commented on these on-line, so you have my responses as you think about your next project
* our discussion about our end-of-semester field trip needs more voices (decide today, if need vans)
froggies315 proposes a structured walking along Mill Creek, w/ each of us having a task
eetong and ekthorp want to do this, if we can get to Dove Lake; and so does
Sarah.Shaw if we can get some waders and get in the creek, and also
hira if we can pick up trash while doing so
rachelr wants to spend the time we have left reading texts together (you can explore on your own!)
srucara could go that way, or on holistic communal exploring--on another date?
mturer? graham? sara.g? smacholdt?
* when we return, we'll be discussing our one book-
length fictional text, J.M. Coetzee's The Lives of Animals
(we should have had more of these: less preaching, more story-telling....!)
II. Terry Tempest Williams, An Unspoken Hunger
* reading aloud from the essay of that title, p. 79 --
what is the unspoken hunger Williams is talking about?
why/how is it deflected?
* "Winter Solstice," pp. 61-65 (also read this aloud):
D.H. Lawrence writes, "In every living thing there is a desire for love, for the relationship of unison with the rest of things." I think of...how cautious I have become with love. It is a vulnerable enterprise to feel deeply....If I choose not to become attached...my heart cannot be broken because I never risked giving it away. But what kind of impoverishment is this to withhold emotion, to restrain our passionate nature in the face of a generous life...? A mind...who reins in the heart...can only expect more isolation and greater ecological disease. Our lack of intimacy with each other is in direct proportion to our lack of intimacy with the land....Audre Lorde tells us, "We have been raised to fear...our deepest cravings"....Wildlands' and wildlives' oppression lies in our desire to control and our desire to control has robbed us of feeling (pp. 63-5).
froggies315: For me, A Patriot’s Journal was Williams’s most compelling essay....Connection to place may be erotic, but it it is not unadulterated....Williams must have strong and contradictory sentiments on home and homeland. I wish she had grappled with them in her writing. The complexity that accompanies loving this land is scary....I would have liked to know more about what it is to be a patriot.
Cf. Ursula LeGuin in The Left Hand of Darkness, about the absurd limits
patriotism, of drawing a boundary around what one loves and hates:
How does one hate a country, or love one?…I lack the trick of it. I know people, I know towns, farms, hills and rivers and rocks, I know how the sun at sunset in autumn falls not on the side of a certain plowland in the hills; but what is the sense of giving a boundary to all that, of giving it a name and ceasing to love where the names ceases to apply? What is the love of one's country; is it hate of one's uncountry? Then it's not a good thing. It it simply self-love?…one mustn't make a virtue of it, or a profession….Insofar as I love life, I love [these] hills…but that sort of love does not have a boundary-line….
Look over your accounts of your site sits.
Write for 5 minutes: where in your own writing (or thinking, or reading) this semester have you expressed a desire for love, a search for intimacy with others, and/or the world? How do you understand the relationship among these cravings? (And your decision to represent them....or not?) What does Williams' writing reveal about your own? How does your read, through the lens of hers?
Tell one another what you have discovered.
Read these passages aloud.....?
IV. From The Politics of Place, an interview with Terry Tempest Williams
conducted by Scott London (on the Insight & Outlookradio show):
"We're animals. I think we forget that. I think there is an ancient archetypal memory that still exists within us. If we deny that, what is the cost? So I do think it's what binds us as human beings. I wonder, what is it to be human? Especially now that we're so urban. How do we remember our connection with place? What is the umbilical cord that roots us to that primal, instinctive, erotic place?
...I worry that we we are a people in a process of great transition and we are forgetting what we are connected to. We are losing our frame of reference. Pelicans pass by and we hardly know who they are, we don't know their stories. Again, at what price?
I think it's leading us to a place of inconsolable loneliness. It's what I mean by 'an unspoken hunger.' It's a hunger than cannot be quelled by material things. It's a hunger that cannot be quelled by constant denial. I think that the only thing that can bring us into a place of fullness is being out in the land with other.
Then we remember where the source of our power lies."