Gloomy Day

IMG_9293I felt melancholy today sitting with Rosie, unlike last time there were no students on the quad, it was really just the two of us watching a few stragglers walk by to get meals or wherever they are going with their busy lives. It has been really wonderful taking half an hour out of everyday to still be doing homework but to really start to get attached to my tree.

Not many squirrels today either, they seemed to be hanging out inside the tree as it is starting to get colder. Rosie’s bark is getting dry and easy to pull off, making her seem more frail, as her leaves fall off as well. The gloominess has me really reflecting on my own life, so relating back to another blog entry- it gives me emotions of sadness and gloom. The trees just blend in with the sky now, they are becoming bare and gray. This is the season when everything becomes gray and the beauty of fall has depleted. Sitting with Rosie on this gloomy day has me thinking about all of the trees we waste and the deforestation occurring in so many places around the world.

Trees are awesome, and even though they start to look creepy when the weather changes to winter, they help us so much and we just take and take from them.

Sunny Day

IMG_9292Today is so sunny. Today is beautiful, there are squirrels running around and birds flying everywhere, it is an awesome day to just sit on the quad with Rosie. I pulled over a red adirondack chair to sit by Rosie but today I decided to sit a few feet away so I could really see her whole being and it was a different perspective than I have had as a whole. I see Owen sitting with his tree over by Morgan Hall, because today is perfect. There are dozens of kids playing frisbee, touch football, and spike ball out on the quad today. Enjoying what it seems like will be some of the last real warmth before winter hits like a train.

Today the leaves are red, my favorite color, and the color of fall. They slowly fall as I sit here watching them in silence, watching the sun shine through the remaining ones on the branches still. It gives off a vibe of warmth, the exposure to nature I have had while watching Rosie today is phenomenal. Three squirrels in particular have been running up and down the tree jumping from branch to branch.

It was hopeful today, even though the leaves were so bright because they were about to fall off and die, it made me realize that I would not be thankful for fall if we did not experience the cold and harshness of winter.

Sounds of Rosie

IMG_9283As I sit with Rosie, the birds chirp some and acorns fall from surrounding trees but mainly the sounds come from the people walking by, the laughter and footsteps, the frisbee games and bikers. I get more of an emotional response from the human created modern sounds because they remind me of friends and family members. The sound of birds always invoke a sense of comfort in me because my whole life, growing up there is a huge tree outside my room window that birds settle and nest. Every morning of the spring they would wake up and chirp, and even though I hated it at the time because I value my sleep, whenever I hear birds chirping, I think about my room at home.

Listening to people laugh or watching friends walk by invoke an emotion of happiness, to know that I have good friends and people who love me on this campus, my home away from home.

Scientific Thinking

IMG_9282The best physical conditions that I can think and process information under are quiet, cool temperature, and open spaces. So it is actually perfect to sit outside with Rosie and observe her and her being.

Its seventy four degrees today and Rosie’s bark is tough to the touch and light brown. Her leaves are already starting to change, one of the first trees on Morgan Field Quad. Sitting under the tree and looking up, her leaves make a canopy of green and light yellow, they almost feel as if they are protecting me from something, definitely the sun, but it feels like a protection from something else too.

There are multiple trees around her but none as grand or tall. She houses dozens of squirrels, they run up and down the trunk as if they are racing each other. Gathering and gathering some more for the cold that is approaching. People look at me a lot as I sit at the bottom of Rosie’s trunk, she is right next to the bike rack so she sees a lot of people everyday- some walk right past, others stop and look.

It’s starting to smell like fall too, the bark has no real intense smell, but the mulch around it smells like summer fields and blueberry picking.

My Tree In History

IMG_9285Around 70 years ago today, my tree was planted when World War Two was ending, and the United States dropped the nuclear atomic bomb on Japan at Hiroshima. Although my tree is placed on Dickinson College’s campus, this largely affected the citizens of every state. My tree developed into an advocate for peace, she refuted the use of non nuclear weapons and so she was clearly upset by this decision made by Truman.

Then Rosie lived through the Korean War, when she was only 5 years old, again not impacted immediately to the Carlisle area, but it helped her solidify her thoughts of advocacy against war.

Next the major events revolved around the Civil Rights movement, beginning with the Montgomery bus boycotts, and Brown vs Board of Education, this was a time in history that was incredibly powerful and important to live through. Following closely, the Berlin wall was put up, and the extreme mockery of a decision that was the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was a bad time to live in America during that. But Rosie, was always powerful and excited. Kennedy, Malcolm X, and MLK Jr all were assassinated during Rosie’s life.

Woodstock occurred and this made Rosie very happy as she was into good music and calm attitudes. But soon came Hurricane Katrina, which killed a lot of Rosie’s family, making it difficult to be happy as a lot of them were washed away and drowned with the flooding. But when Rosie and I met, I had played rock paper scissors to win her because others knew that she was the best tree on campus!

Use-Value

 

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Over the past semester I have learned a lot about myself, the people around me, the nature around and of course my lovely Eastern Hemlock. I think that when people look at a tree they don’t fully understand its importance to your daily life and don’t see how great of an impact it leaves on us. My tree has taught me a lot about the human need for “stuff”.

Use-Value being “anything that satisfies a human want” of my tree to me as an individual, is something that I originally did not expect.   My tree gives me comfort. My tree is now a place that I can go to relax and still be on campus but feel distant. My tree is a place for me to connect to nature and not have to drive to a park or walk very far. My tree gives me hope, and everyone wants a little hope in our world. This eastern hemlock has been the hell and back. It is one of a few hemlocks on campus to begin with, let alone it is the only hemlock on campus that has yet to be hit with the Woody Adelgid. This is shows me that even if everything around us is falling apart, and we ourselves are hurt and down, that we need to stand tall and power through it because someone out there needs us. The tree obviously satisfies the want to be surrounded by nature. Being in a small city, you don’t expect there to be many trees, but for bring in a nice ascetic appeal trees were planted and I appreciate it. This hemlock is more than just a tree to me; it gives me more than just the air that I breathe and something pretty to look it. My tree and I have more of an emotional connect now, which is not something I really expected.

Next is the “use-value” of my tree to the local environment. It is not a surprise that Carlisle has pretty poor air quality with 2 major highways running through the town and all of the warehouses as well. This tree tries to help even all of the pollution out by taking in some of the CO2 and releasing oxygen in return. This tree tries to help with the pollution problem that our local environment faces. Also, similar to its use-value for me, this tree gives the campus something pretty to look at. This tree lets people walk around and not feel like they are is a small city with all of the chaos and noise. Also, as I’ve said above it is one a few trees in the area that has not been affected y the Hemlock Woody Adelgid. This is more than just a tree; it is a servant to us and to its environment. To the campus this tree is just another tree to make it look pretty. Even though the tree may have its head cut off, most of the campus doesn’t notice or care. This people on the campus may not care, but the animals of the campus sure do. They then have something to play on and to store their seeds and nuts in. This tree is their home.

This trees “use-value” to our global ecosystem isn’t much in my opinion. I don’t see how one tree can do much globally. This one tree won’t be able to stop all of the pollution in the world. It has some affect because it is slowly helping to prevent the world from being more polluted than it already is. The use value for the universe seems, just like for the global environment minimal. This tree could be used for its wood. One day some one can come and cut it down and use its hardy wood to make something, not paper, but maybe a canoe or something.

I feel like once you start looking at a tree in a larger and larger picture the affects that it has on what you are looking at get smaller and smaller.

Albert and his “use value”

Albert to me, represent a comforting place, somewhere i can hide and separate myself from everyone on this campus. Albert is located right behind old west which is the perfect spot to hide away as students don’t normally walk back there. To me, Albert serve as a quiet place in which i know he will always be there rain or shine, day or night which is in turn how i look at his use value on a personal level. When you look at the use values of Albert with a college perspective you see Albert as just a tree that is put on this catreesmpus to sell to the prospective students. Albert is just seen as another tree in another school setting in which was put in a certain spot to create a certain image that is seen acceptable in society.For student that are actually dickinsonians then the trees on this campus are viewed as a spot to do do homework under or even a nice view to look out of inside of a class room. To look at the use value within the local environment Albert serves as a place for shade, somewhere squirrels can buried their food and just a place of nutrients for the soil under it. Although Albert is just one of the many trees in the world he serves a a big part of a small community as he provides the campus with his beautiful nature. Even though Albert cant give to everyone he contributes to the planet on different levels  whether we see it locally in small level or worldly on bigger levels within society.

 

signing off for now,

Alexis

The Shedding of the Season

With all of the unseasonably warm days that we’ve been having here in Carlisle, the bare trees on campus, their tangled branches extended nakedly toward the clear blue sky, seemed somehow oddly out of place. It was one of the finally fall-like days that I decided to pay a visit to my sugar maple.

The air was crisp and dry, but not unpleasantly so; in fact, the slight chill in the air came as almost a relief after so many disconcertingly summery days. All of the trees on campus had already cast off their leaves quite some time ago by this point in the semester. The weather finally seemed to match the state of the trees.

The trees had finally all lost their leaves.

The trees had finally all lost their leaves.

I noticed that, despite the lack of leaves on the trees’ branches, there weren’t many leaves scattered along the ground either. I wondered absentmindedly where they had gone. As I sat and watched my tree from the front balcony of Althouse, a white Dickinson truck chugged along the pathways that etch themselves through the academic quad. A crew of groundskeepers emerged from the truck, and loaded their leaf-blowing equipment onto their backs—mystery solved. At first the men with their leaf blowers were quite far away, so that their machinery seemed to emit only a quiet hum. As time passed, I watched students walk to and from class.

Before the sugar maple underwent its autumnal transformation, it had rustled happily in response to the occasional breeze, its leaves waving in the wind. Now, the branches hardly budged in the breeze, and only the very thin branches tips wriggled silently. The groundskeepers were inching their way closer to me and the sugar maple, and the mechanical hum of their leaf blowers grew into a heartier buzz, and then an overwhelming roar.

My sugar maple no longer swayed in the breeze, but stood resolute.

My bare sugar maple stood resolute in its leafless surroundings.

Watching the leaves being forcibly relocated into neat piles, I realized how odd of a notion leaf-blowing is. Why spend some much time and effort pushing fallen leaves into centralized locations? The wind will only cradle them up and return them to their original location moments later. Why is having leaves on the ground a bad thing? Perhaps my Pennsylvanian childhood gives me a bias, but I have always thought that trudging through a thick carpet of warm oranges, reds, and yellows was just part of the fun of the season. For me, the leaves’ presence on the ground always adds a sense of uplifting festivity to the season—something much needed to combat the gloominess that accompanies the setting of the sun at unreasonably early hours this time of year. Why take the time, burn the fuel, or pay the wages for people to try to cover up nature’s natural décor? I smiled to myself at how ridiculous the leaf-removal ritual suddenly seemed.

Once the groundskeepers had finished, I surveyed their work. To their credit, they had done quite a thorough job; only a few lone survivors, deeply embedded in the grass, had escaped the leaf blowers’ vicious gusts. The sugar maple, as well as all of the trees around it, seemed very solitary without a royal crown of color surrounding its branches, or a ring of fallen leaves around its base. Without their unique shades and hues to distinctly identify them, and without the color to break up the monotony between the trees, all of their brown branches seemed to blend together against the gray sky.

Field Notes 3

After missing out on KD for about a week and a half, I was surprised to show up to find her branches bare. KD looks like an entirely different tree this time of year. She is brown, barren, and looking quite alone.

I sat down at 9:15 am. It is cold and crisp. The squirrels are very lively at this time of morning, most likely preparing for the winter. One hops close to KD’s trunk, then scurries away toward Old West. The rest of them are out and about, climbing all the other treesexcept KD. The other trees surrounding her are like skyscrapers in comparison.

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9:20 comes around and the pedestrians pick up the pace around me, likely everyone is heading to their 9:30 classes. All I can hear are some quiet conversations, because it is too early in the morning for loud ones. There isn’t much wind, and there are no more leaves, so I am left without the peaceful sound of KD’s leaves blowing in the wind.

Between 9:20 and 9:30, I hear the sound of the Stern front door closing behind students as they enter the building for class.

I love the red adirondack chairs in the distance. They remind me that while I am alone with KD, I am still a part of Dickinson’s campus.

It is about 9:40, and I don’t see much movement. In the distance, I see cars stopping at the intersection of West Louther and North West Streets. There are constantly cars moving between these streets, as it is a very busy intersection.

Until next time!

That HEP & NEP

Within Catton and Dunnlap article, Paradigms, Theories and the Primacy of HEP-NEP Distinctions,  talks about the difference between HEP and NEP. Throughout the article he conveys that the Human  Exemptionalism Paradigm theory tells us that humans are of a this superhuman nature compared to the environment, in which we control what the environment does for us. NEP, the New Ecological Paradigm recognizes the capacity of humans but says we are still not interdependent of  other species. This in turn shows us that although people might not believe it we are dependent of nature and the resources they provide us.

When i was with Albert the other day, i really put these finding of HEP & NEP into play as i thought about what  they really meaALn and how we see them in our everyday lives. While looking at the students on this campus, i believe that we follow this NEP paradigm in which we take and take from the environment and the resources they provide for us and not even think of the consequences of what we are doing to them. We talk all the time about how humans are superior to nature in which we control the environment which can be true to a certain extent but nature provides us with resources that we don’t even think about because it has become so natural to us. look at the buildings that we have classes in, or the rooms you sleep in, those are all made from the environment. also look at the paper we use to write notes in class; those were from a tree in which it had to be cut down in order to be made into paper. People today tend to misuse their “power” that they have an exploit the environment. the problem with this is they don’t realize how much we depend on it. This in turn makes me wonder; without these resources would humans would be able to survive, are we really superior to nature? or is it the other way around?