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

"Messy, but beautiful"

alexb2016's picture

When I visited the pond behind Rhodes for the second time, I decided to bring along some company. My teammate Georgia and I had just finished a run and were waiting for a friend, so I thought it would be an appropriate time to visit my "spot". I explained my assignment to her, and why I had chosen this spot out of every other place on campus. "I think it's so beautiful", I told her when she asked. 

She replied with,"It's messy, but it's beautiful". I asked her what she meant by that, and she told me that, to her at least, the pond seemed a little out of place on campus. It was fenced off, and not maintained like the rest of the grounds, which is why she had called it messy. I thought about that for a moment, and then asked her what her hometown looked like in comparison to Bryn Mawr. She lives in the suburbs of Alabama, and explained that everything there was perfectly maintained; a place for everything, and everything in its place. I realized that where she was raised may have affected the way she perceieved my spot behind Rhodes. My hometown in Vermont is nothing like she had described hers to be, and I wondered if that was the reason why I had seen the pond from a different window of perspective. To me, there was beautiful organization in the reeds, the overgrown shrubs lining the fence, and the looming shadows of trees that hung over the water. I would have never have thought to classify it as a "mess". 

That got me thinking about my ecological paper on Bechdel's Fun Home; the topic of my paper was how Bechdel's and her father's ecological environments had affected the way they confronted their sexuality, and how they perceived themselves and others in the world. The places in which Georgia and were raised had affected the we approached and saw the world--and I was glad to get a personal affirmation of my thesis. Looking back, I wish I had revisited this spot earlier with her, so I could have added more that I learned from the brief conversation we had. 

Thanks for reading. :)