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marian.bechtel's picture

This past weekend was a really tough one for me because I got into a huge fight with someone I love dearly, so my trip to my site today was very cleansing. I had spent all of yesterday hardly able to leave my bed or open my mouth without crying, and if I had gone outside yesterday to do my site sit, I probably would have described everything as bleak and cold and dead. However, last night I spoke again to the person and we resolved our argument and feel closer than before. So today when I went outside, instead of focusing on the frozen, cold, and dead, I found myself looking at life, healing, and regrowth in the nature around me. The river that last time had been moving along so strongly, was largely frozen over now, but some movement remained even with its partial frozen cover. There were dead plants and trees all around me, but I realized as I looked at them, that winter is soon coming to a close and with that comes rebirth and new life. So even though these plants and trees looked cold and dead and bleak, they were probably getting ready to begin waking and growing once again. I reached down and felt the snow, that had been softened from the bright morning sun, and felt how the cold, though startling and painful, melted and warmed in my hand and dripped back to the ground. I'm not religious, but it felt cleansing, like a baptism in the Church of the Great Outdoors. I felt refreshed and renewed, more so than I had felt in a while. It's moments like these, where I resolve conflict with a loved one, or am standing outside admiring the beauty and the greatness of it and feeling cleansed, that I'm reminded of what is most important to me. Sometimes at Bryn Mawr I get so stressed about papers and homework and postings that I forget to step back and look at the bigger picture. That's what today's excursion felt like for me - a stepping back from the maelstrom of stress that engulfs me every day to remember that, however wonderful my education at Bryn Mawr may be, the world is a lot larger than that, and what are more important to me are the people I love and the Earth I stand on that nourishes me.


Anne Dalke's picture

so glad for the repair!

and so...
what intrigues me most here is the tension between your frank acknowledgement that the way you "read" the world is almost entirely conditioned by the condition you're in as you encounter it (if you had been sad, the world would have looked bleak, but since you were happy, spring seemed closer...), and your counter report that your excursion was "a stepping back from the maelstrom of stress" that is most of your life.

so: which drives what? what drives which? is this action really bi-directional? with a stronger push from one direction or the other? can the world lift your spirits, just as your spirits can color the world....? if making your excusion seems to make "the world a lot larger," does bringing your particular perspective (esp. your trials) into the world make it smaller, narrow the focus (and the world?).

how anthropomorphic is this all? how much projection going on? how inherently animated the world, until you enter it...?