This morning I did something extremely rare of me: I woke up before 8. I got up and went to breakfast. Then I did a bit of work in the lounge while I waited for it to warm up a bit outside so I could reflect on more than how cold my toes were. I finally made my way over to my reflection spot, already feeling more awake and alive than I do by noon on most days. It was still a bit chilly, and a lot gray outside but overall it was a nice day to sit for a bit. I eased myself down into my little tree nook and stared up at the gray sky, waiting for inspiration to strike.
Of course, inspiration did not come so quickly. I mostly kept thinking about the meeting we had last night for about our Earth Lodge final project. Lauren, Bill, Kenta, and I are the “tree group”. However, we decided that we would branch out of our assigned role and also create signs about the fauna and geography of the area surrounding Westhampton Lake and forest. When we came up with the idea of including a sign about the geography of the Westhampton Lake I felt like I had been struck with a bag of bricks. I and several other people have been writing these posts about how we are gaining new insight into the place that we live in, seeing spots for the first time that we had always overlooked. Why not lift our realizations and reflections off the blog post and into the real world? That was the underlying theme of the project wasn’t it? To take what we have learned and communicate it in a constructive way through education or implementation to the rest of the campus community.
However, haven’t we also found beauty in the overlooked places because they provided a space away from it all for us to escape to, even if it was only 500 feet from my bed? I don’t want this spot to become overrun with people, disrupting the serenity that can be achieved once the cars are tuned out. But is it my place to hide it away? Or should I try to let others see the beauty? Or should they discover it for themselves?
Of course I should not rob others of the excitement of discovering a place for the first time, even if it has been discovered countless times by others. Each person’s experience is their own. Our signs will hopefully not only educate people about the ecology and geography of our more natural areas of campus, but they will inspire people to realize “hey, if I didn’t know this before, what else do I not know about the forest?” And that my friends, is where the adventure begins.