April 19, 2007

Non-Committal Answer (Or, I will not be moved! I refuse!! I....all right, fine. I answer.)

Consider Terry Tempest Williams’ discussion with Sandy Lopez regarding the relationship of women and the land. Williams and her friend discuss how the both the bodies of women and the body of the earth have been mined, how men subjugate women and nature because they’ve lost intimacy with themselves. What do you make of the conversation between Willams and Lopez? Do you agree that there’s a connection between the way women and the land are treated? Do you think that a culture of domination is part of the problem when it comes to environmental abuses?

Well, I did not see this as an issue when I first read it at all. It was simply one person speaking their opinion to another, nothing more. I did not see the big fuss that was raised in class, and to be quite frank, it took me by surprise that people had such strong opinions on it. Now that I have been forced to think about this along lines that were drawn that I simply did not acknowledge, I have to answer along such lines accordingly.

Yes, people have brought up that the connection between the land and women in regards to how men treat them are similar. I agree. But not all men treat women like trash, and not all men treat the earth like trash either. Some do. Some truly try to treat them both well, and have angelic intentions, but fail miserably anyways. Some excel. Who knows, really. As for being "mined" and "subjugated"? I don't feel like either has been done to me, especially in the negative light that men have been placed for this passage.

I have never encountered said fabled dominating man. I believe said men to be arrogant, and arrogance never got far in my book. If they think they know so much, they can just walk their sorry little behinds out of my life. Seeing as I have never met any that have gotten this bad, I believe most people to be a little more flexible than that. At least with humans. With the environment, I believe that until relatively recently (hmm...geologically recent), humans have tried to grip the land with an iron will. We are now seeing the results. We err, we repeat, we learn. I think we (some of us) are learning finally that iron will snaps in half, it does not bend. We need to be more flexible and loosen our grasp in our approach to the earth, because if we aren't, it'll probably blow up in our faces from all the pressure.

April 12, 2007

A Place Apart

Query: Describe the most beautiful place to you.

The most beautiful place for me? It would have to be Taylors Falls State Park in Minnesota. This place is gorgeous in a rugged and untamed sort of way. What makes up the beauty of this place is also what makes it so dangerous. The barriers between the public and the high cliffs leading to the river down below are few and far between, leaving wide open spaces to the rivers or jagged rock below.

This place is not extremely big, but seems all the bigger by the fact that it is a largely vertical terrain that one climbs around on. Everywhere you look, scrubby pines with gnarled and twisted roots roping around their gnarled and twisted rocky anchors formed by wind and water and plant growth over the many years. Sinkholes upwards of 15 feet deep in bare rock weathered down by the water that falls in them show up in the most bizarre of places. Sweeping heights of naked rock with fissures all pointing to one spot in the middle of the wall--as if some giant had come up and pounded a crack in the wall. To some, it may be repugnant. To me, paradise.

January 25, 2007

Why He Left The Civilized World

I believe that Thoreau chose the woods because the woods is a lonely place to one that is used to living in the company of other people. To truly live, in his opinion, is to be as self-sufficient as possible. I believe he chose to be alone because he was taking self-sufficiency to the utmost he could. I suppose that one could say that when living in the village, one gets so accustomed to a routine that it becomes akin to something done on autopilot, or simply by habit.

I do not believe that being alone is living life to the fullest. I believe humans are social creatures by nature, and to deprive one of those social interactions is murder on the soul. But, to each his own. I think he shied away from anything relating to village life in this experiment because it meant socializing with other people; people he believed to be beneath the ideals of his experiment, beneath his intellect, beneath the enlightened one in ten million.

Henry Thoreau needed some time to himself away from civilization because the very things that help others thrive seemed to be smothering him. He needed to focus on the facts of life. People need to sleep: He had an unfinished cabin that he slept in for quite a while. People need to eat: He had a small but sufficient garden to sustain himself. People need company: In whatever form it may come, whether it be the computer late at night, other humans, or in the case of Thoreau, simply the sounds and bustling activities of Nature herself and all of her creatures, people need the sense that there is something holding them to the life they live. I think that by retreating into the woods for this experiment, Thoeau had realized that the humans of any village in the world were not company enough in comparison to foreign and exotic Nature.