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Sunday December 9th-2 excursions outside

hirakismail's picture

Our trip into Ashbridge Park was great and went so fast it was surprising. I liked that it was lightly, not heavily structured, and that we had room to move around. Walking down to the creek was my favorite unstructured activity that day, and doing the chant at the beginning which incorporated movement and noise really well. I thought it was interesting to make a sound impact on our environment; I remember testing this out tentatively in my Rhoads Pond Site Sit by singing. I had been initially hesitant to make too much noise at first because I didn't want to disturb the surroundings, but then I realized I was separating the environment from myself by doing that. So I sang, to be a part of it all. And that was similar to what I felt we all were doing with this initial chant. Becoming a part of it all. In a non-harmful way (hopefully). As for walking down to the creek, finding a nice pathway to walk on the way down and a more complicated path on the way back up was something I did; it helped change up the experience a little. Reaching the creek I touched the water, and eetong mentioned the oil that was floating on top of the water and mixing with the rest of the creek. This surprised me, I wouldn't have noticed it without her pointing it out. It was disappointing to see oil there, I wondered where it was coming from. Also, running the poetry activity was nice; it was nice to hear it read aloud outside. Poetry is better read outside or with sunlight or natural light or just wind coming in, I've always thought. There's something about a poem that seems like its trying to break free from something, delve into something, and it seems appropriate to bring that attempt outside literally.

Doing the blind field shuttle was the ultimate trust building exercise. It seemed very ecological; we literally had to hold on to each other, to share the resources we had available in order to adeptly walk forward. We used our voices and our feet and our hands to feel the way we were going, and the other hand was used to feel whether anything was getting in the way of our walk, any overhanging branches or poles or parked cars. I was the first to say "Break!" because I hadn't been able to hang on to the person in front of me, the line was going too fast, and I didn't want to be too rough. Carmen led me to the person in front of me, I had managed still to keep my eyes closed. As a speaker the first time around, though I was able to repeat what Carmen was saying, I made it a point not to speak aloud in any other way. So when I was being pulled too hard from behind, I felt voiceless and at one point let out an "Ouch." I was trying to figure out a silent way to communicate that I wanted the person behind me to hold me a different way. So I took her hand from my shoulder and guided it to my elbow instead. I did this once, and for a while she held on, but went back to my shoulder. So I did it again, and she went back to my shoulder but a bit more gently this time. I felt like I had a very deep connection with the person behind me especially. We seemed to be able to understand what the other wanted, and were making sure to stick together in the walk and not let the bond break. This reminds me in retrospect of the walk I just took in Rhoads Pond alone. The bit of pain involved in the line of people was similar to the bit involved in using the tree branches to guide myself forward. I have never felt as fully engaged in the various walks around campus than I did with this walk. Using it to explore my site sit was a very exciting idea then. I wanted to clear my head of other thoughts, and somehow, cutting off one of my senses did the trick. I was listening, didn't have time for thoughts other than feeling through my shoes what ground I was walking, feeling with one of my hands/making sure the person behind me was taken care of and holding onto the person in front of me with the other hand. It felt so great; the only time I opened my eyes was when my feet hit a curb and I tripped over it. They opened for a second then I closed them quickly. When in the beginning I realized that we were going to cross the street (I could plainly hear the cars and they were alarmingly close and this is my least favorite street to cross because the drivers never want to stop and are always rushing and I always feel endangered when crossing this road in particular with my eyes OPEN so what on earth was I going to do with my eyes closed?) I panicked inside, heartbeat racing and could feel my throat straning with the silence, but remembered I had promised to give my trust to Carmen and his leading of the activity. So I took a deep breath, but before I could quite finish, I heard Carmen say "Crossing." I was supposed to wait for ekthorp and then repeat the news, but in my fear I definitely said "Crossing!" with the exclamation point and in a quaver. I'm pretty sure the speaker after me did the same. My instinct was to inform the group right away that we were crossing; this wasn't a pass-it-down message, it was a "We're crossing so pay attention and be CAREFUL" sort of message. As we walked through the street, I took a figurative step back in my mind and tried to imagine myself as a driver on the road. Once the initial crossing began, any driver would see 15 people crossing the road, holding on to each other for some strange reason. Whatever that reason, fifteen people in a line on a short crosswalk were not to be crossed; the drivers would be more likely to stop actually due to the size of our group. (Are we even 15 people? Am I counting right? Maybe not :( ) So that made me relax into the walk and laugh a little at the anticpated thoughts of the drivers who probably thought we were a little crazy, especially if they noticed that our eyes were closed. At the end when we finally stopped, we paused for three seconds then opened our eyes, and when I did, I felt deeply, to be honest I teared up. It was so different and I felt so dependent but also helpful, it was a collaboration, not only with the group but with the very ground we were walking on. Every aspect of our surroundings had to be cooperative in order for this to work and it felt phenomenal.