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Day 24 Reflection

rachelr's picture

While I loved our visit to Ashbridge Park today, I personally did not get the watery experience that I think many were hoping for. I found the portions of the river that I saw to be upsetting- there were water bottles sitting in the grass, an Arizona Iced Tea bottle dipping up and down in the water, and other miscellaneous trash littering the banks. Constant reminders of us, humans, and the mark we insist that we leave everywhere.

The activities we did made me feel like we were very much together. Without wooden, man-made chairs holding us in our places I was able to sense the community that we have become over the course of the semester.

We chanted together, we screamed together, we learned together, we read poetry together, we ate together, we explored together, we wrote together.

I thought when we discussed the plan for this course that the neat schedule of events was too structured for what I had hoped would be a collective Thoreauvian ramble, but once we were there it didn’t seem as structured as I had anticipated. There was still some presence of structure and time constraints, and time seemed to move much more quickly than it normally does when seated.

After grabbing an apple and being confronted by the garbage on the river I headed up a tree, and from there I watched the exploration along the banks. Some were clustered in small groups, others wandering alone; what struck me though was the speed at which everyone was moving. It was slow. Normally we spend our days practically sprinting from Point A to Point B, the world moving at the speed of production and productivity. But here there was no need for the blind speed with which we normally move. We took the time to really see.

I can’t speak for everyone, but today’s class felt to me like it was in a different time and space, removed (with help from sara.gladwin, ekthorp, and sarahj) from the work and urgency of our daily schedules. A breath of fresh air, if you will…

Part of placing ourselves, grounding ourselves like the trees in Frost’s poem that smacholdt shared with us, is knowing the space you inhabit. We weren’t out in Terry Tempest Williams’ “wilderness,” but we were out in ours. 

What effect do you think this walk had, and how can we connect it to other lessons we have learned in this course?

What power does nature, ecology have? If a simple hour and twenty-minute trip to a park can change the attitude of a whole day, what else does it have the power to do?

I hope the lessons don’t stop here. I hope to leave Bryn Mawr College in six months ready to create a bigger space for nature within me, rather than making nature make a space for me; interconnectedness is undeniable, and it is up to us to relearn our role in the balance of the earth. 



sarahj's picture

An Accidental Theme: Fieldtrip Reflection

I completely forgot that one of our hopes was to form a closer bond with water on our fieldtrip.  I would say that we were unsuccessful in that, being that we only had fifteen minutes to explore.  Additionally, all of the litter in the area really did not make me want to get on the water too much.  Normally, I like to kick off my shoes and walk around barefoot, but I was worried about what manmade debris I might injure myself upon.  I was sad to see all the trash, especially since people had worked so hard to restore the creek.  When Anne mentioned Professor Elkin's fears that we might disturb the plant life too much if we went off the path's, I originally responded by thinking, "What is the point of restoring nature if we all have to stay away from it?"  The sight of the trash told me exactly why human presence is not the best thing for restoration sites.

Although we didn't get the connection with water we may have been looking for, we did end up copnnecting with sound a lot, both through poetry and the opening and closing activities.  I think this would be an interesting topic to discuss further, especially considering that sound has been a big part of the course in general.  We talk a lot about being able to hear eachother while outside as something that is important to us.  We went through an entire unit on language, but what is the point of spoken language if no one can hear it, is unwilling to listen or cannot/will not make sound?