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Introductions and My Impressions

alexb2016's picture

Hi Everyone! 

     My name is Alex Beda, and like you, I'm a freshman. I'm from Woodstock, Vermont and I'm planning on majoring in wither Economics or International Studies with a minor in French. Now onto the assignment: 

My Ranking:

1) English House

2) Morris Woods

3) Park Science Building Lab

4) Glass staircase Dalton Hall

5) Campus Center Parking Lot


 My comfort level appears to be connected to desiring equilibrium between our “man-made” reality, and the reality of nature. I found that I felt the most comfortable at the English house, where I could access nature, but didn’t necessarily need to be fully immersed in it. The bridge between Morris Woods and the English House leaves nothing for want, and is the ideal balance between human organization, and the effortless organization of nature. I almost felt out of place when I was walking in Morris Woods, but that could have been because I decided to complete this assignment during the evening, when the campus was almost eerily quiet. Morris Woods is still high on my list because it reminds me of my home; the sour, deep smell of the forest after the rain—except not as clean as it smells in Vermont (probably because there weren’t a lot of pine trees). The winding trails remind me of the trails I hike during the summer, very restful. Surprisingly, I also felt fairly comfortable at the Park Science building. The building itself is restrictive—maybe even on the verge of claustrophobic—but I felt at home wandering the halls with my one card and book bag. I was aware of the sharp angles and perfect shapes that wouldn’t appear naturally in nature, and noticed the difference between our organization and nature’s organization.  To me, the Park Building represents our desire for the perfect organization that nature simply is. This building is a safe haven of silence, but nature revels in the opportunities which silence provides. I felt the least comfortable in the campus parking lot. The pavement was unforgiving compared to the trails behind the English house and in Morris Woods, and the green house seemed out of place in front of the forest.


Plant’s Rank:

1) Morris Woods

2) The English House

3) The Campus parking Lot

4) The glass staircase

5) The Park Science Building


I arranged the plants’ “ranking” based on how prevalent they were in these areas of the campus. In places like Morris Woods, the plants were thriving and, for the most part, undisturbed by man-made oppressors (except for maybe the occasional indulgent biologist). The English house was another location where I felt the plants were happy. Here, some were clearly being attended to by humans, but seemed to be thriving under their care. The plants were less prevalent here, but have found a way to harmoniously coexist with the man-made. Those in the campus parking lot aren’t as happy as the plants in Morris Woods or the plants behind the English House, but they’re still free in the open. I imagined plants at the Dalton glass staircase to be unhappy. They would still be exposed to sunlight, but the glass would only feed their desire for fresh air.


I know what the caged bird feels, alas!

When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;

When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,

And the river flows like a stream of glass;

When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,

And the faint perfume from its chalice steals—

I know what the caged bird feels!

                                -Paul Laurence Dunbar


I feel as if this segment from Dunbar’s poem, Sympathy, represents how plants may feel oppressed at Dalton or in the Park Science building. I remember reading this as part of one of my classes during my senior year of high school.


Plants seem to seek some form of organization, just different organization from our man-made structures. For example, the park science building showcases a beautiful collection of rocks from the geology department; I find this ironic because it’s trying to showcase something that it actually oppresses. The Park Science building is trying to organize something that already has perfect organization in nature. While I tend to be drawn to a combination of the man-made "concrete" mixed with the reality of nature, plants tend to be more drawn to nature in its purest form (such as in Morris Woods).