Post Once

A Green Ash- aka Fraxinus Pennsylvanica

The best tree in the region

It deals well with climate change’s thermometa’

Whether (weather) it’s hot or freezin’

It cleans the air for your breathin’

And aesthetically my tree’s much greena’

You can’t cut it down and I’ll give you a reason

You gotta watch out, cause here’s JOHN CENA

(**Picture is the most pretty I got from the year)

Post Diez

With a muddled and narrowed perspective, similar to the paradigm style of the human exceptionalism paradigm, my tree is important- to me. My tree may provide homes, food, and shade to lots of animals, but it may provide me, with addition of other trees, a house. I may then heat that house with the remaining bit of tree and I won’t think much of it; what good is a tree if it is not serving me?

Now returning to a more open view, my tree serves a small, yet vital role in the local ecosystem. Removing one tree won’t do much, however, ecosystems are comprised of lots of individual organisms sharing resources, so it is as important as any other tree. Each bird to rest on its branches or each squirrel to scale up it has been positively affected by it.

My tree helps to reduce CO^2 levels as well as generate healthy piece of the larger ecosystem. It serves as an aesthetic for the college campus, as well as an aid towards making the campus healthier. For the campus of life, my tree is but a fraction, but still a fraction, of the living, breathing planet. It’s beautiful to zoom out to such a macro level while looking at a tree.

However, our culture emphasizes the human exceptionalism paradigm. The tree is not its own living organism to us; it is only defined by what I can do for us. Truly sad that we can take so much for something that can do such good.

Post Nueve

Since the industrial revolution, humans have justified their degradation and resource plundering of the environment due to a paradigm that placed humans at the top of the food chain (even above the environment as a whole). The Human Exceptionalism Paradigm regards humans as being superior to all other inhabitants of the planet / the environment, and that human ingenuity will always allow the human race to survive. So, with that view in mind, my tree is nothing more than my tree, and if I wish to use it to serve myself in anyway, I am able to do so with no consequences. The tree is nothing more than a tool which I may use at my leisure, for whatever purpose I want. Regardless of the effects on the environment and all the surrounding organisms in the ecosystems, my species will survive, regardless of the challenges.

The New Environmentalism Paradigm rather than viewing humans as exempt from the worlds ecosystems views humans as just another part of the natural world that constitutes earth. My tree, like myself, is an organism that is as dependent on other species as we are. Humans may have culture and other complex systems and other traits that may set them apart on a micro level, but at the macro level, we are all on this floating rock absorbing sun and all other nutrients that allow us to live. This paradigm is about eco (the whole) rather than the ego (the individual).

My opinion on which paradigm is more relevant is by far the NEP. Firstly, it’s crazy to think that humans are not affected by environmental forces. Floods destroy dams, forest fires can rage to the point where humans cannot affect its outcome, and not only are we the cause of climate change, but we are going to be heavily affected by it. And secondly, we may not be able to outlive the problems we have caused to the world. And thirdly, we’re talking monkeys on a floating rock in a vast, vast universe; the human exceptionalism paradigm, really?

Post Ocho

The sky is in the perfect point of transition from light blue to darker, more dusk blue. The moon is half visible and some of the last leaves hang from the green ash. No squirrels are bouncing, it is a still campus other than the cars passing through town. Sitting down on the bench at Old West allows me to view my tree in a way that frames it with the crossing walk archway in the background. The wind picks up dried leaves and scuttles them a few yards every half a minute or so. A single bird sits on a tree limb towards the Benjamin Rush statue, but he leaves before I am able to capture his colors.

My tree’s limbs are becoming barren, but it is but a part of the cycle of life. I can remember days when reds and yellows dominated the quads tree canopies. There’s a weird feeling in the air that I believe is being brought on by the winter coming. A squirrel has now come into vision, crossing in front of the bushes of Old West. He is pandering the academic quads, hoping to find a last bit of food for the evening. It has now turned much darker and car headlights become more and more visible with every passing minute.

Three women walk by the squirrel who scampers under the bushes until they pass, only to reclaim his spot a minute later. The wind picks up for one last gust, pulling one of my papers from beside me and onto the field. It is starting to get late, and I walk over to my tree for one last look.

Post Siete

The adirondack chairs and the porous mulch by my tree’s roots are wet with dew. It’s really shocking to not have seen snow touch my trees roots throughout the semester. The squirrels who scamper nearby are bold; they don’t hide nearly as much when people walk by now that they need to keep looking for food that becomes less and less available. One approached and came within five feet of me because of a honey crisp apple that I had been eating.

I don’t think the squirrels enjoy the weather. I can remember at the beginning of their food-collection two months ago that they were very skittish, but times have changed. They scamper on the bark of a nearby, much larger tree on the quad and leave the scene via the branches. The bark is incredibly course, with half inch indents riding vertically up and down the tree. I look towards the side of Bosler facing the quad and see a very thought provoking stained glass mural light up. There’s silhouettes of two human heads, which seem to be thinking an upwards drinking thought bubble.

Its symmetry and abstract design seem out of place at first, but its lack of symbolic affiliation is actually very aesthetically and cognitively pleasing. I think the squirrels are starting to enjoy it too now that they have way more free time due to not sleeping. The bushiest of the squirrels has come back, his paws flipping over acorn caps near the base of my tree. He sees me, and as it starts to rain a little more, we both begin to leave.

Post Seis

Crisp, warming sun penetrating through the cascading leaves. Visible patches of orange, autmumnal leaves transitiong back to green as less and less light reaches the more secluded leaf patches. Bold, yet reserved squirrels. Matted, yet perfectly vibrant green grass with scattered, fallen leaves. The fallen leaves cause a resonating crunching noise, enough to cause several seconds of reflection. Dirt mixed with pinecones. Aidirondacks literring the academic quads (one with ‘Gucci Mane’ on the arm rest). Cooling winds as the sun fades behind other trees. Wisps of light breaking through the tree canopies allowing for momentary patches of warmth to be felt. Lots of people walking by, to their destination rather than stopping to enjoy their journey. I don’t think that my tree likes when I type these blogs on my computer, it’s a little crazy that minerals and such create this computer. It’s all star dust, transformed by time. Pretty cool, if you really take the time to think about it.


Post Cinco

I tried to write this, but these damn trucks man. Seriously. “.  Compare the emotional experiences connected with the sounds of nature to human-related sounds.” First off, sitting on the academic quad next to high street is not ‘in nature.’ Second, I feel kind of sad right now. My tree isn’t in nature. Damn.

I get that humans are a part of nature, but something about a Giant Food Truck passing by as I try to listen and connect with nature is something else. This shouldn’t be normal. But from the perspective of a 19 year old, it is.

It’s overwhelming at times- I use the internet everyday but couldn’t explain it to a person from a hundred years ago, I travel miles across the ocean in just one day, and I can have hot, delicious food available, whenever and just about wherever I want it. This isn’t normal.

It makes me feel more confused the more I think about it, but simply not thinking about it isn’t the answer. So I guess to answer the question, I guess it does kind of make sense that the sounds of ‘this kind of nature’ makes me sad- it’s not really natural.

Post Cuatro

  • Natural distractions
  • Cold enough to cover up, but warm enough to be comfortable
  • Mid afternoon or late, late at night
  • Outside (if I’m really trying to think about something meaningful)

I found myself attempting to write this, but was rather focused on a nearby squirrel, so I wrote about that.

– He’s a younger, stockier squirrel. Really, really bushy tail. Like wow. He has incredibly cute feet too. He’s half finding food and half just kinda, squirrelling- ya know? Maybe these aren’t the best conditions to write in- aaand he’s gone.

I find myself stuck on the qualitative rather than the qualitative at most points of the day. And honestly, I’m happy for that. It’s too easy to break down things to numbers, when often times it can be more enjoyable to just watch the pander around a field and hop. Don’t count the squirrels- add your own spin and count the steps he/ she makes until he / she’s spooked or finds food. You could do this with leaves, blades of grass, students late to class, just don’t get stuck just in the dry numbers, though they might be necessary.

Post Dos (out of order)


My tree is perfect without any labels. Just kidding, it’s a green ash. It’s around 40 feet tall, around 70 years old, and is around a foot in diameter. The tree is in great condition, regardless of all the poor decisions he made to show off in high school. It is situated on the academic quads, between Bosler Hall and Old West. I am actually able to enjoy some time with my tree right before our 12:30 class.

My favorite part of my tree is its transition towards the bottom into the soil. Its roots are strong; a greater metaphor for the character of my tree. “This is my (tree). There are many like it, but this one is mine. My (tree) is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. My (tree), without me, is useless. Without my (tree), I am useless.”

I keep my tree young, and it gives me an unsaid knowledge. The least said rings in the ears the most. There’s something beautiful about a tree being there regardless of how I feel. Whether I’m sad, happy, angry, or really anything, my tree just is. The Tao is my tree, as my tree is the Tao.

Numero Tres

Erik Nielsen

Professor Barnum

Environmental Sociology


Tree Blog #2

I would say that my tree is somewhere between 100 – 150 years old, placing its origins somewhere around the 1860’s. Abraham Lincoln had just become the president, and numerous states had left the union. Pennsylvania was on the border of where the union met the confederate states in the civil war, so I like to think that my tree was, in fact, not a racist. It went into its angsty teen’s right around the time that the Civil Rights Act was passed and watched as Dickinson College had its 100 year anniversary since being opened in 1773.

It saw many Dickinsonians pass through the doors of Old West, and even more ye olden squirrels swinging from its branches. Though it wasn’t affected, the tree felt great empathy for its brothers that had been so affected by the Johnston Flood in PA. As the tree grew past its teens, he began look and think past the single confines of the Academic Quads. Passing scholars alerted the tree of historical events occurring, such as the Spanish American War. The tree, with its roots in America, supported the United States in the war, however, it couldn’t help but feel bad for the all of the wooden boats that were being decimated by the newer, industrialized American fleets.

While the tree passed into the 1900’s, he became rather confused by what he heard around the campus. He heard of mass killings in China, then great parties in the 1920’s. He knew of the great depression and the start and end of World War One, but he also heard of the discovery and exploration of the North Pole and the advancement of the airplane since the Wright Brothers first flight on the trees 35th birthday. He pondered how humanity could do so much good while doing so much bad. He heard of the Holocaust wreaking horror while scientists began to attempt to find and eventually produce a vaccine for polio.

The tree served as a refuge for college students just beginning to introduce themselves into the psychedelic 60’s, and later served as refuge for their children while the Berlin Wall fell. He was torn jeans and flannels fade into iphones and vineyard vines. While the world turned, burned, laughed, and cried, the tree just was.

It felt breezes the way that we did, drank water in the same basic nourishing fashion that we did, and experienced growth and renewal all from the sun, all without worrying about its place in life. We begin to feel that we are apart from the life cycle that trees represent, and it isn’t until we find ourselves under the shade of a tree with our phones out of juice that we realize that we are in fact not so different.