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

You are here

Collective Unnatural Imitations: Lost in the Openness

The Unknown's picture

I feel to exposed. There is so much that is muted. There is hardly any natural protection. I feel stuck, continuously losing focus when a new person walks by. It seems more like a sociological observation than a natural, ecological encounter.

The spot feels strange; in order to get to a seat, I had to climb over a mound of snow, yet when I arrived, I didn’t feel any more removed from the campus.

The snow is dense, compact, durable, impermeable. This was indicative of the feeling of constancy, fixedness, and firmness.

It seemed that the spot had been trampled, overused, abused, and at the same time, neglected. I desired more mixing, transplanting, converging of different species, plants, textures, shapes, and colors.

I couldn’t feel grounded with the red bricks below. I wanted to be touching, feeling the earth. It seemed that everything around me, including some of the snow, was just another shade of brown. I craved movement, life, excitement, sounds other than the wind and people’s voices. Instead, I just felt this pervasive sense of death, crumpling, fragility. The bushes were lifeless and thorny.

A tree shades my already grim spot. I couldn’t help thinking about how “unnatural” the placement of the tree was. Most likely, in order to create the sidewalks, and the building next to my spot, people had to have cut down trees, and trees were removed from somewhere else and brought here. The few trees that are here do not seem to belong and do not seem to have begun here. There was nothing natural or ecological about this arrangement.

The irony was not only present in the green recycle bin nearby.

Across from me, the sun was setting, casting a glowing peach on of the buildings I could see through scattered trees.


“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
Albert Einstein

“For I have learned to look on nature, not as in the hour of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes the still, sad music of humanity.”

William Wordsworth


Anne Dalke's picture

I'm a little confused--is this your site, in Morris Woods?
It seems not...are you reporting on a vist to the the site of a classmate, elsewhere?
But then how-and-why the "my"?