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Streams, woods, and homes (or not-homes)

marian.bechtel's picture

For my scape, I've chosen the little creek behind Batten House in the woods. I know I live in Batten right here, but part of the reason I decided to choose this particular spot is because even though I live here and I've spent so much time on the back porch of Batten looking out on the "jungle" (as I call it because it's just so green and lucious and covered in vines in the spring/fall/summer), I've only ever actually explored the jungle myself once before at night. It's strange having lived here for an entire semester and not having explored the woods behind it thoroughly, despite my deep appreciation for it's beauty. It reminds me somewhat of what Greenblatt was saying in his writing (calling me out again!) about how we value "views" and "landscapes" so much, but often don't take time to really understand what's beneath it all and what's going on inside. So by using this as my scape, I will learn to truly explore and appreciate even the hidden bits in the nature around where I live.

The reason I've chosen the creek in these woods in particular is multifaceted. First of all, I have always found the sound of a trickling creek so comforting and soothing in general. Secondly, from my observations from the Batten porch (from which you really can't get an excellent view of the whole creek with all the bushes and shrubs and trees grown in), this little creek seems to be such a source of life - I've seen so many creatures, from Great Blue Herons, to deer families, to raccoons around this creek. Perhaps by spending more time there, I can draw some fresh life and healing from it as well. Lastly, and most significantly, I chose the creek, and actually a particular spot along the creek bank, because it reminds me of the creek behind my house at "home" in Lancaster. I put quotations around home because one thing I've been thinking about quite a lot the past couple months is, Where is my home? My parents' house, though my childhood house and a place full of memories, is certainly not my home anymore, and even Bryn Mawr does not completely feel like a home to me anymore, so what is my true home, and what constitutes a true home? Is it out in nature? Is it with my partner (who already graduated from Bryn Mawr and is not here) and other people I love? Seeing the creek and seeing how it bends and twists in almost exactly the same shape as the one at my parents' house brought me again to this question of true homes, and past childhood nostalgia vs. present and future realities.

In total, the creek in the woods behind seems like a prime place to both experience the beauty of nature and life and healing and peace, as well as to explore this notion of homes by both learning the secrets and depths of my current physical home, and thinking about what is a (my) "true home" right now in the world. Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of this creek at the moment, since I explored it in the dark again, but I do have a map of Bryn Mawr with Batten House circled.