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Claire's Cloisters

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Let's talk about rain. Rain is a beautiful thing. Water gets everywhere. I miss rain like rain we had today. I spend so much time in my head trying to equate this place, Bryn Mawr PA, to my "home" in Portland OR. It's frustrating because the two places really aren't that alike, and a big part of this is rain. But when it does rain, hail to the rain gods because this place makes my brain come alive with notions of home. The reason I put HOME in parentheses the first time I used it is because "home" is probably relative, as in relation to your close relatives (this might make no sense but I saw a pun and I used it). My family is not in Bryn Mawr, does that mean I'me not at home? Or should I take a more individual-centric world view and decree that wherever I'm living is my "home?" Thinking about these things, and looking at the rain today took me away from Goodheart, away from Bryn Mawr, and I had strong, possibly physical aches that I would probably chalk up to homesickness. I don't always like to admit that to myself (sometimes I operate under this fantasy that I am the strongest and most flexible human being in the world, therefore, can never be homesick) but it is undeniably true. I spoke these words out loud at my sit, but I will write them to the world now, putting my seal of authenticity on the statement. I AM HOMESICK. Does saying it outloud and writing it here validate this feeling and make it more real? I don't want it to.. I don't want to be homesick at all. 

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Learning about nature by touching it

Minh, Barbara and I visited with two upperclassmen, Sruthi and Hira on an ecological tour of the campus.. This is my account

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Dreams of a Coed Bryn Mawr (yuck)

A man (suspicious male on campus!) approached me today as I walked toward my site. He asked me a few questions about the college (undergrad pop, graduates, etc) and ended his brief interrogation by asking if there was any "talk about going co-ed" for the undergraduate college. I replied with an emphatic no, not only because I feel personally that that would be a step backward for the school, but that I believe there would be strong opposition from current students and alumni. Who in the college would suggest such a change? Why did this man think it was relavant? Who was this guy, anyway? If BMC did go coed, how would that change the learning environment or the campus? I think, first of all, the the actual phisical campus would be dirtier in someways, but it would also be more lively, especially on the weekends. I dont think it would hurt to actually see people out at BM on Friday or Saturday nights, it's actually a very sleepy place during those times. The deserted feeling is not a pleasant one. What kinds of men would be attracted to Bryn Mawr? Would it just be another liberal arts school? Personally I think there is not enough room around Philadelphia for another coed liberal arts institution. Just one of the many reasons BM should remain all-female, even if that does exclude possibly interesting minds from living and learning here.

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Can't spell Nature without A R T

This week in my spot was beautiful. Instead of being a kind of quiet, unprovoking beauty, the view from where I sat, and the act of taking this photograph of it, prompted many questions. I realized that what I was doing was an act of artistic expression, and that even the very things I saw within frame of my lense were not entirely nature, but some past human artistic expression as well. I thought:

What does artistic expression have to do with ecology? Where does 'art' fit into the natural ecosystem? What value does it have regarding the health of all things on the planet?

Trailer for "Rivers and Tides"
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Gloria warms my heart. I also want to be her

On Friday night, I went to see Gloria Steinem speak at Haverford (along with Rochelle), which happened to be very timely for the particular topics we are discussing in Eco Imaginings this week. One thing in particular that she spoke about which I connected with was her idea that there was no race, and that racism and feminism were one in the same. In th real world, it manifests itself as control over who births who. As a woman, historically, either you're exploited or suppressed sexually. 

As I sat in my spot today, my mind was racing. It jumped around to virtually all aspects of my life. Now, in reflection, I realize that everything I was thinking and feeling has something to do with expressing or recognizing feminsm in my own life. It is everywhere. And it is not dead. 

In other news of spot sitting: the weather outside is extremely cold. brr

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To laugh or cry? Hurricane Mentality

In light of this recent weather event, I have been reflecting on the tragic v comic duality we discussed some classes ago. Many I know attended hurricane "parties" or had mini campouts in their rooms with friends to ride out the storm. Is this a tragic or comic reaction? Were they grouping together in the unlikely event that we all met our untimely demise, to band together in a time of crisis (in the tragic view)? Or was it a comic impulse to make the most of a free night off school and make light of the potential severity of the storm? I am inclined to think the latter, but this meterological tradegy caused the impulse. Do most people find that they have comic reactions to tragic events? Alison Bechdel certainly did, when she was aware of the death of her father. Is this normal? What reaction did you have to the storm? Panic? Calm? What did you notice about other or group behavior in the light of potential injury or death? 

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I sit at Goodhart

Today I changed my sit spot. My new place for musings is now behind Goodhart, at the recommendation of Zoe. (Thanks, Zoe!) I realized that I needed to freshen things up a bit, and venture to a place I have not been yet. The cloisters, while beautiful in their own mysterious way, do not offer the natural diversity that the nature behind GH affords, only green grass and gray walls. I was pleasantly surprised when I happened upon the tall arches and hights of GH, which displayed a saturated polychromatic view of dying plants.

Recently, after doing some sleuthing into BMC's earlier history, I happened upon a tumblr blog dedicated to old Bryn mawr photos. Here is the link: 

This website is humorous, but it also gives easy access into the lives of Mawrters past. Please enjoy this while on your hurrication from classes! The photos really made me think about how much has changed, while also how much has remained the same. For instance, aside from a few new buildings on campus, the scenery is almost identical. I think I saw one or two photos that could have easily been taken where I sat today. The timeless and uniform qualities of the architecture really struck me, especially as I sat today comparing my spot at the cloisters to my new one at GH. 

For anyone who has/will look at these photos, what sticks out at you as the biggest difference/similarity? 

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Cow's nose

Glowing viens of shist like the sparkeling wetness on a cow's nose. The formal grass carpet is overwhelmingly uniform and ridgid in comparison with the overgrowth, even in fall, of the Harriton House garden. Yet again, I find myself alone in these four walls. The vault of the sky is my roof. The House property, meanwhile, buzzes with life. Cows loll in the pasture, the air swirls with insects and plants sprawl wildly, brushing each other's stalks with tender fingers. Inside the cloisters, a breeze tickles the golden ends of my hair. Mechanical sounds are in the air. Chattering fills the space from the mouths of idle girls. Sunlight bypasses my eyelids, straight into my brain.

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Walking round octagon

Walking 'round octagon. sane brain? steps too many jenny. footfalls on rock rebel. treble voices talking troubled voices whispering shhhhhhip by the shore the shoe store. online pine daisy crazy. fart. cold nose not there. fold hose hot share. twenty to timing monotones. slap slap slap flap slap. walking round octagons. 

I walked around the cloisters fountain for 20 minutes at approx 86 steps/min, 1 step being approx 1.3 feet, amounting in about .423485 miles.  I am a crazy lady now. 

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Circus Cloisters

I drew this image while watching the rehersals of a circus dance troupe in the cloisters Sunday morning. At this partiular point, I sketched them singing Bread and Roses, a popular protest song of industrial workers at the turn of the last century. The tune also happens to be dilivered in a most enthusiastic manner en masse at one college's nighttime rituals. 

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