Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!


rachelr's picture

In thinking about my site sit today I had a plan: I know there were some plants, some bushes at the base of the beech tree behind my bench. I knew that when I had collected leaves they hadn’t all been the same leaves. What could I find from Morris Woods at my site?

Surprisingly little. Or perhaps not so surprisingly. Morris Woods was once cultivated, a farmland; but since it has been left to its own devices, native trees, shrubs, and plants taking root while slowly but surely non-native plants creep up and across the landscape from the direction of English House. My site is manicured. The oak trees of senior row were planted and aligned, spaced apart. From the pairing of Hurricane Sandy with a sudden drop in temperature the leaves from the trees dropped, and sometime since last week the groundskeepers have not only cleared the leaves, leaving the ground bare save for some patchy grass on death’s doorstep, but also cleared of the plant life that, when I began my site sit, were densely packed around the base of the beech tree. No longer there, I can approach its root system, and its trunk that bears a plaque. A human mark on this easily scarred tree. Everything feels so bare.  Everything I like to look at has been cleared. The evidence of the loss of life has been stripped away, and the emptiness of my site in comparison to the (mostly) uncleared and dense Morris Woods makes me feel bare. I am no longer sitting amongst things, but rather against them and alone.