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Genre of Thoreau Walk

hirakismail's picture

To examine the genre of my written Thoreuvian Walk is difficult. I don't know whether I can quite name it in a specific genre. It is not a tragedy, it's not a comedy. Is a reflection a genre? I think my "walk" is still quite like a pastoral, but it does explore partially the idea of the hidden and the parts of the earth that are difficult to navigate. So maybe it's slightly Gary Snyder-esque? That's what I will call it now, a pastoral with hints of Gary Snyder. So now to write it into a different genre. Not sure what to call it? Not exactly a tragedy, but sort of leaning toward it.


     Because it had rained practically all day, the atmosphere was full of mist and fog, amplified ten times by the lamp posts which added to the blur. I could scarcely see the path I was walking except in a blur, and the campus around me had transformed. I continued to step, deciding on a whim to travel toward English House, because the pathway there looked quite foggy. I saw a couple of students speaking to each other quietly and continued on my way. The grass was very wet, and I felt moved to walk on it instead of the sidewalk. Since I was wearing flip-flops, this caused my feet to be dabbed in the droplets too, a feeling I appreciate. It helps me feel I am a part of my surroundings, am being affected by the earth instead of always being in opposition to it, as people complain humans always are. Making it to English House up the stairs, I was immediately struck by the enormity of the tree under which we as a class usually sit. I don't know the name of the tree, but I was shocked by my own earlier lack of observation. How could I have not noticed it's sheer height before? It is so entirely taller than anything else in the vicinity, its trunk is never-ending. Perhaps I've always been too busy thinking of other things on my way to class, making sure not to be late, setting my notebooks and backpack down. Now, somehow, seeing it in the night, carrying nothing in my hands, it became the most apparent being in the entire vicinity. I couldn't take my eyes off it. There is a saying that Edgar Allen Poe's Dupin says in The Purloined Letter:

"If it is any point requiring reflection," observed Dupin, as he forbore to enkindle the wick, "we shall examine it to better purpose in the dark."


We were assembled as usual.

It was boring.

We stayed stretching in the sunshine, just breathing along, just being. Funny how being tall didn't make life any more interesting. You would think that being the tallest in town would give you more attention, but no, just ignored. The fog would surround us at night, seeping and spinning lazily. It was alert, while we watched drowsily.

We could never sleep properly.

Something or another would always be crawling, moving, shifting across us, inside us. We were plagued by this at first, but grew used to it. They needed us, we needed them. It was just the way it was.  Once in a while, a hand would slide across us, a body lean against us and we would notice lazily. No surprise, we were used to being touched, to being glanced at, necks being craned, being scampered on. But then it was right back to drowsing. Taking them for granted. Just the way they did.




And to reflect on schmadolt's rewrite of a post about a flower. I appreciate the idea of looking at the whole system rather than a part of the whole. Perhaps approaching plant life and the environment holistically would help with current problems? I found the rewrite just a little bit more personal, as it gave a little background on the flower itself. It placed it within a longer context.



r.graham.barrett's picture

Why is it leaning the way it is?

I really enjoyed your re-write of your Thoreauvian piece, especially as it serves as a link back to our conversation about Le Guin's story and possible tree sentience. I also liked your actual depiction of what a sentient tree might think of humans, and supposedly "taking them for granted" reflecting how we ourselves have seen trees. What I was curious about was how in your introduction to your post, you said your re-write version leaned towards a tragedy. To me at least there doesn't really seem to be any noticeable traits of a tragedy, but then I noticed your description of tree life as "boring" and how they "could never sleep properly". Are these possibly negative qualities of the sentient tree's life, would made you consider the re-write to be leaning toward tragedy? Would a sentient mind like a tree that we can't grasp truly see these as negative qualities?