Deep Thinking on “Deep Economy”

McKibben states that one used to be able to satisfy both aspects of “more” and “better” at once, especially in terms of marketing, but making on the terms of “better” are now hard to achieve due to the increasing variety of high-end materials the evidently end up raising the production cost. Producers can no longer have both unless they have an unlimited source of wealth; they need to choose now. That also applies the same to consumers on some level. There’s more of a psychological aspect when it comes to consumer happiness: humans have different needs that range from physical health all the way up to self-actualization. When we are able to spend money in order to meet our standards of physical health such as getting medicine, cooking healthy meals, and keeping a roof over our head, we are happy. We are happy because our body is in good condition. When we spend money on large entertainment systems/electronics or a brand new car with more features than we know what to do with, we are not doing anything for our wellbeing; thus, we do not generally find satisfaction in material items which has an effect on our happiness. McKibben somewhat ties this into his reading by talking about how humans are in need of a sense of community with the people around them. Since I agree with this statement, I definitely agree on his quote on what we need from the holidays. When I was a very young kid, about six or seven, I wanted the same thing for Christmas every year. No matter whether my mom, my dad, or any other relative asked me, I always replied, “I want love.” I think that holidays are a great time to just spend time with your family and catch up with them. A lot of people don’t understand the significance of being able to sit in a furnished living room with your entire family for a whole day. Some people have to spend holidays in the hospital. Some people don’t have anyone to spend holidays with. Even though I believe people of my age are good at understanding the real importance of the holidays, I do agree with McKibben that living a life of family-centered community and generosity will make us much happier and fulfilled as people.

Revised Draft – open to peer review

Whitman’s Writing in the Psychological Sense

At the moment, psychology is scientifically defined as the study of behavior and mental processes (Myers and DeWall 9). Since psychology is still undergoing exponential growth and development, the field is ever-changing. Therefore, some people like to describe psychology as the study of individual differences. We can find out multiple facets of ourselves just by briefly looking into the field. From specific human behaviors resulting from the body’s regulation of hormones to the evolutionarily disposed fundamental attribution error that humans experience to simultaneously keep themselves uplifted but close-minded, psychology can explain it all. With that said, I am curious as to how different factors in our life can influence the way that we view the environment, our experiences, and other people. In particular, I feel it necessary to look at a specific type of person whilst doing this research: the humanist. Humanistic people are able to keep an all-inclusive mind and stay open to differing opinions on multiple topics. In a world where so many people experience rigidity, it is crucial for a person to have many positive and diverse experiences while at home and outside in the world in order to function on a higher level. This can be attributed to Whitman, a precursor for environmentalism who writes about his own enlightening philosophies in his poem “Song of Myself.” By exploring his background and work in detail, one can find the key to his (as well as other humanists’) temperament and figure out the genetic and environmental dispositions it takes for a person to function like him.

Walter “Walt” Whitman was born on May 31, 1819, to a family living on a farm in Long Island, New York that had been raised for years past by ancestors. He belonged to two parents: his father, the original Walter Whitman, who was a “silent, troubled-looking man, wrathful upon occasion” (Perry 5), also described as relentless and often dissatisfied (Perry 11), as well as a loving mother, Louisa Van Velsor, who was once a daring young woman that eventually transformed into an even-tempered house wife when she had children. As one would expect, Whitman favored his mother more, even claiming to have inherited his writing gift from her despite her illiteracy. Both descriptions of his parents give me the idea that they would have worked as a unity to enforce an “authoritarian parenting style” in their household. The father would function more on the confrontive side, making him highly demanding of his son to succeed in what he demands him to. I can see Whitman’s mother being more on the kind side of the spectrum, being more likely to encourage him to negotiate and discuss his issues or needs with her. Both parenting aspects I have described create “authoritative” parenting, which very often produces children with high self-esteem and social competence (Myers and DeWall 189-190), which can be seen in Whitman’s overall personality.

It is stated that despite having nine siblings, “Walt,” Whitman’s childhood nickname and later pseudonym, was the only to “show any marked intellectual or moral stamina” (Perry 9). Although it is difficult to precisely pinpoint why this is, it could be due to the numerous factors that influence intelligence, primarily heritability, the likelihood of inheriting it as a trait, and the quality of attention given to one as a child (Myers and DeWall 378-380). Since Whitman was the second person born out of his siblings, it is likely that he benefits from both factors.

When he was four, his family moved to Brooklyn, the place that he would grow up in a world of self-discovery. To start off with, he and his family could tell that he loved exploring as a hobby rather than other traditionally “manly” sports like fishing and shooting (Perry 12). When he started schooling, Whitman did not see the purpose of getting an underdeveloped education, causing him to quit attending when he was thirteen. This helped him to find out what he truly loved doing since he was able to undertake jobs that would place him around different forms of literature such as erranding at a lawyer’s office and type-setting for a Brooklyn paper (Perry 14-15). This eventually lead to him becoming a compositor, a job that he would soon find a great fondness for, in New York (Perry 16).

Despite enjoying working as a compositor, Whitman became a school teacher by the time he became eighteen, which did not last long due to him finding more enjoyment working in the world of literature.  Nevertheless, this ambitious venture leads us to where the first main interpersonal connection of this paper comes into play. Charles A. Roe, a past pupil, is able to describe Whitman’s teaching style. It is claimed that he was more passive than other teachers in a setting where strict discipline was common. Known as very kind to all of his students, he was always seen outdoors playing with them at recess (Perry 16-17). Whitman also taught his students orally, contrasting from most teachers that worked at that school, since it was more normal to teach from the book. This creativity combined with his kindness made many of his students attached to him. (Traubel 110). Coincidentally, Whitman seems to exhibit all five components that make up how high one’s creativity level is. First is expertise, or well-developed knowledge. Even though Whitman did not finish school, he developed a knack for writing during the majority of the different careers he held. He was also proficient enough in math to teach it to essentially high school students. Next is imaginative thinking skills, which I believe to tie into the next few factor: a venturesome personality and creative environment. Since Whitman was able to explore around as a child, he was able to let his imagination run free and explore different abstract options. The final aspect is intrinsic motivation. One can already tell that he only works jobs that he enjoys doing, which marks the final qualification that proves him to truly be creative (Myers and DeWall 340).

After his brief teaching career, he decided to start his own small-run newspaper, which would eventually become the Long Islander (Perry 18). This is what finally helped him transition into his writing career. Perry stated that “none of Whitman’s early prose possesses any high degree of literary merit. But it is marked by a strong ethical sense and especially by sympathy with the poor and suffering” (28). While referencing Song of Myself, Perry goes on to state that multiple critics believe “its author… hit upon a mode of expression which would hide his weakness as a craftsman” (31). This statement ultimately prevails when one looks for the main reason as to why Whitman’s writing is so enjoyable; the humanism he naturally exhibits is genuine and felt by his readers. This intimate exchange of emotions allows his writing to resonate with the common people just as easily as he is able to state, “I celebrate myself” (Whitman 1).

Despite his work being such an important piece of American literature, there is a lot of controversy over Whitman’s values of humanism. A fellow author, James Thomson states what many readers are thinking, “He sings himself with long-unequalled arrogance” (Miller 45). On the other hand, multiple other authors and people tend to say that this arrogance purely exudes the American individualism of its time. I believe that this work has much more confidence and love rather than arrogance. He writes, “For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you” (Whitman 1) to show that he views everyone as equal. Whitman also goes into depth on this: “Clear and sweet is my soul… and clear and sweet is all that is not my soul” (3). To even further prove this, Whitman recounts an encounter with an African American slave, which is most likely a true experience since he lived through the American Civil War. He mentions to the reader how he found the slave in a weak state and proceeded to bring the man into his house for a week and nurse him back to health. “I had him sit next me at table… my firelock leaned in the corner” (Whitman 8). This is pure proof that he will freely preach and value equality.

Another factor that multiple people enjoy about his writing is that he goes far beyond the simple idea of equality by stating that he wants to go as far as to share his own confidence. Whitman states, “I believe in you my soul… the other I am must not abase itself to you, and you must not be abased by others” (4). He is actively encouraging his audience to learn from his views of himself. It is simple to find the message that one should always believe in themselves just as Whitman has trusted himself, as he has persevered through life and lived to the fullest by always taking the path that he wants to. Lastly, a quote that furthers this confidence that Whitman holds in mankind is, “The scent of these arm-pits is aroma finer than prayer” (22). To begin with, he was not raised to be religious, which is most likely why he was okay with publishing this line. Whitman is trying to state that to be human, to live, is to be divine and that everyone is just as equally divine and worthy of growth and happiness as their worshipped religion.

At the core of his work is also some substance on nature, since he was a precursor to the environmental movement. A large portion of this is how Whitman encourages his readers to go out and have some experiences within the natural world rather than just becoming complacent with society. He states, “Houses and rooms are full of perfumes… The atmosphere is not a perfume… It is in my mouth forever… I am in love with it” (Whitman 1). Whitman even acknowledges how luxurious a life living purely inside is, but still takes the initiative to advise his audience against it. Additionally, a rather interesting point that Whitman makes is that humans have the ability to learn from nature and creatures. We have to find the opportunities and take them. He describes how animals seem to function higher than man; however, instead of degrading mankind for all of its flaws, he seems to still use his tone of humanism. Whitman states that farm animals do not whine about their poor conditions or suffer from greed and that they don’t “kneel to another or to his kind” (28). As a whole entity, “Song of Myself” promotes a wonderful humanistic view of nature and humankind that everyone needs to witness.

A large part of the appeal to this book is the humanism portrayed within it. I believe that every psychological aspects of Whitman that I have discussed interplay here in order to print these values onto the book’s paper: His self-esteem and social competency help him to not only exude confidence in himself, but also confidence in other people, showing his audience that he genuinely cares. If anything, I believe that Whitman most likely achieved self-actualization in his lifetime as a writer. Drive theory, the idea in psychology that multiple physiological aspects of life motivate humans to live, states that there is a hierarchy of needs. It states that humans have multiple needs on the basic level and that once they obtain those needs, they can move onto higher levels of demand. At the base, there is physiological needs, such as the desire to satisfy hunger and thirst. The second highest level from the top is a need that almost no one is able to achieve: self-actualization, the need to live up to your full potential. With Whitman’s writings, he has definitely gotten to this point before passing away. This analysis on Whitman greatly helps us to understand the multiple interworkings of their minds that help to qualify them as some of the greatest and most influential people to exist in our society.

Sources Cited

Miller, Edwin H. Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”: A Mosaic of Interpretations. U of Iowa P, 1989.

The content of this book is described as “a running commentary on the poem almost line for line” by the author. Whitman’s “Song of Myself” is discussed here in great detail and clarity; the author pulls in multiple different sources and compiles their comments on the work in order to help the reader make better sense of the original poetry as laid out by Whitman. I used this source to help me better understand the views on the natural world that most scholars believed Whitman to hold.

 

Myers, David G., and C. Nathan DeWall. Psychology. 12th ed., Macmillan, 2018.

Since psychology is exponentially growing and evolving, the most current sources possible must be used while writing about the scientific subject in order for a work to have prevalence with the year and period it was written in. For this reason, I used the most current published version of the Macmillan General Psychology textbook. Because of this book, I was able to cite factual evidence and vocabulary of psychology in my writing.

 

Perry, Bliss. Walt Whitman: His Life and Work. London: Archibald Constable, Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin, 1906.

This piece delves into detail about specific portions of Whitman’s life, providing a lot of substance to digest and talk about in reference to the psychological aspect of Whitman that I would like to discuss. Within Chapter 1: A Child Went Forth, one can read about the household that Whitman was brought up in as well as the different personalities of his parents and how he recalls both of them. This book also provides an account of how the American Civil War affected him along with all of the different career changes he undertook throughout his life. I gained more insight to the events that helped to shape his temperament and views over the span of his life.

 

Traubel, Horace L. “Walt Whitman, Schoolmaster: Notes of a Conversation with Charles A. Roe, 1894.” Whitman in His Own Time: A Biographical Chronicle of His Life, Drawn from Recollections, Memoirs, and Interviews by Friends and Associates, edited by Joel Myerson, Omnigraphics, 1991, pp. 109-116.

Including a chronological timeline of important events as well as accounts of and interviews from Whitman, this book makes for a descriptive piece about his entire life. This helped me to effectively determine what Whitman’s past was like in reference to what was happening in American history. It also gives me the ability to read about the ways that people view him as well as the different relationships that Walt Whitman held towards specific individuals, which in this instance is his student Charles A. Roe.

 

Whitman, Walt. Song of Myself. Dover Publications, edited by Susan L. Rattiner, 2001.

By using the original unabridged version of my subject’s texts, I was able to pull examples of Whitman’s environmental views straight from his own writing.

Formal Abstract for a Detailed Research Paper:

At the moment, psychology is scientifically defined as the study of behavior and mental processes. Since psychology is still undergoing exponential growth and development, the field is everchanging. Therefore, some people like to describe psychology as the study of individual differences. We can find out multiple facets of ourselves just by briefly looking into the field. From specific human behaviors resulting from the body’s regulation of hormones to the evolutionarily disposed fundamental attribution error that humans experience to simultaneously keep themselves uplifted but close-minded, psychology can explain it all. With that said, I am curious as to how different factors in our life can influence the way that we view the environment, our experiences, and other people. In particular, I feel it necessary to look at a specific type of person whilst doing this research: The humanist. Humanistic people are able to keep an all-inclusive mind and stay open to differing opinions on multiple topics. In a world where so many people experience rigidity, it is crucial for a person to have many positive and diverse experiences while at home and outside in the world in order to function on a higher level. This can be attributed to Whitman, a precursor for environmentalism who writes about his own enlightening philosophies in his poem “Song of Myself.” By exploring his background and work in detail, one can find the key to his (as well as other humanists’) temperament and figure out the genetic and environmental dispositions it takes for a person to function like him.

 

Sources Cited

Miller, Edwin H. Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”: A Mosaic of Interpretations. U of Iowa P, 1989.

The content of this book is described as “a running commentary on the poem almost line for line” by the author. Whitman’s “Song of Myself” is discussed here in great detail and clarity; the author pulls in multiple different sources and compiles their comments on the work in order to help the reader make better sense of the original poetry as laid out by Whitman. I am using this source to help me better understand the views on the natural world that most scholars believed Whitman to hold.

 

Miller, Edwin H, editor. A Century of Whitman Criticism. U of Indiana P, 1969.

Like other sources on this list, this edited work includes multiples accounts of Whitman and “Leaves of Grass”, the container for “Song of Myself”, told by other people of different backgrounds. Ranging from commentators of all disciplines from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Henry David Thoreau, “Leaves of Grass” is not only discussed in relation to the time period that the vast commentary was created in, but also to how other people felt about Whitman’s views on the environment. This provides me with a rough basis of analysis that will help me to explain my own opinions on Whitman’s writing along with the original substance that existed in his work to begin with.

 

Myerson, Joel, editor. Whitman in His Own Time: A Biographical Chronicle of His Life, Drawn from Recollections, Memoirs, and Interviews by Friends and Associates. Omnigraphics, 1991.

Including a chronological timeline of important events as well as accounts of and interviews from Whitman, this book makes for a descriptive piece about his entire life. This will help me to effectively determine what Whitman’s past was like in reference to what was happening in American history. It also gives me the ability to read about the ways that people view him as well as the different relationships that Walt Whitman held towards specific individuals, such as Henry David Thoreau.

 

Perry, Bliss. Walt Whitman: His Life and Work. London: Archibald Constable, Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin, 1906.

This piece delves into detail about specific portions of Whitman’s life, providing a lot of substance to digest and talk about in reference to the psychological aspect of Whitman that I would like to discuss. Within Chapter 1: A Child Went Forth, one can read about the household that Whitman was brought up in as well as the different personalities of his parents and how he recalls both of them. This book also provides an account of how the American Civil War affected him along with all of the different career changes he undertook throughout his life. I hope to learn more insight to the events that helped to shape his temperament and his views over the span of his life.

Preliminary Abstract for a Detailed Research Paper:

It is psychologically proven that one’s temperament and personality are shaped equally by both the environmental and genetic disposition that he/she has experienced throughout childhood. Taking this fact into account, I would like to write about its attribution to one of the authors that has been discussed in this class: Walt Whitman. Having read Whitman’s poetry, it is easy to notice the copious amounts of humanistic philosophy being shared and discussed by him. With that said, I am interested in connecting both his environmental and familial livelihoods to the personal experiences mentioned in “Song of Myself” in order to further analyze the true intention of the work’s poetic writing and the author’s ideals.

Analyzing Mistral

Recently, I have been given the task to present an analysis of a Gabriela Mistral poem. Having not read any material beforehand, I decided to pick my selection based on the title. With that said, I have chosen to present “The Worrier”. After reading it and doing my research on the facets of nature mentioned within the text, I feel that there is a lot of metaphorical material to cover.

Mistral’s ideas in “The Worrier” definitely relate to environmentalism on a deeper, more intimate level just as Abram’s work does. Mistral expresses that nature can be referred to as “more-than-natural” by comparing the different aspects of the changing seasons to those of the feelings that one gets when their lover must leave them. She makes the reader feel a connection to the environment by describing the earth as “loveless” when the sun recedes during the winter as opposed to when she describes the warm waters and winds full of passion when the humid weather makes a swift, steadfast return to her. This poem is easily able to conjure up emotional connection in anyone, including me, because we all have at least that one person or group of people that we miss dearly whenever we part from them.

Intelligently Discussing the “Sensuous”

In “The Spell of the Sensuous,” Abram talks about his personal experiences and thoughts when it comes to human relationships with each other, the wild, and technology. I agree with the author in the belief that our senses are “gates where our body receives the nourishment of otherness,” (Abram ix) and we use them as much more than just picking up on fleeting sensory stimuli. I believe that we use our senses to emotionally feel. Not only do we pick up on physical sensations, but we are able to determine whether the people around feel happy, sad, annoyed, etc. Our senses help us pick up on the feeling of the social atmosphere that is created by the people surrounding us. Although Abram discusses this in his preface predominantly using examples of the non-human world, I believe that this can be applied to inter-human relationships as well due to the spiritual aspect of my personality.

I was also able to connect with Abram over one specific experience he had: Abram describes an experience of how he observed multiple cave spiders weave webs that seemed to intertwine with one another. I have been getting to know the amazing beauty of spiders throughout this entire semester. When I moved into my dorm, there was a spider in the bathroom who loved to hide in the wall cracks and whose web took up the entire window; I thought this was cool and named him Michael. However, my roommate was terrified of spiders and kindly asked me if I could kill it. One weekend, I dismantled his web in hopes that he would show himself to me, only to find an even more elaborate web starting to form the next day: The web seemed to be shaped like a three-dimensional triangle when attached to the wall, and it was so thick that multiple fruit flies had already been caught by it. Seeing this awesome beauty arise from the situation, my roommate and I decided to keep Michael in the bathroom and live alongside him, which is what I was reminded of when Abram claims that he was able to sleep peacefully among the spiders in the cave. I was surprised at how easy it would be to see these facets of nature in my own home.

Even though I’ve had many natural experiences at this university, I do not think that much would change within me if I was not as connected to my smartphone, when discussing the technological terms of this reading. I’ve always seen myself as someone who is bad at keeping up with social media, and I can easily go without my phone for two to three hours at a time because I am accustomed to lengthy instrument practices and rehearsals. Still, I believe that there is much that we can learn from Abram and his opinions on our own society and ecosystem.

A New Writer Approaches: Muir

In “A Geologist’s Winter Walk,” Muir has a sense of wonder and positivity around the way that he experiences nature, even if his writing makes it seem as though he can be compared to a reckless tourist. As someone who visited the Natural Bridge in Virginia as a nine-year old, I can relate to this. His thoughts seem to be almost naïve as a child’s, so this makes for an interesting small blurb to read. The fact that he slept on a rock in the middle of his hike and this quote: “Never did pine trees seem so dear. How sweet was their breath and their song, and how grandly they winnowed the sky!” (Muir 99) both make me think of and recall Thoreau’s enthusiasm of the wilderness. His gung-ho attitude about nature that he exudes while saying, “How wholly infused with God is this one big word of love that we call the world!” (Muir 104) also reminds me of Whitman’s all-encompassing affection for every aspect of the natural world as well as Bello’s complete romanticization of it. On the other hand, I’m not sure myself what Cronon would think of Muir’s opinion of the wilderness. Surely, both men believe that nature itself is to be treasured and respected, but it seems to me like Muir could be perceived as one of those tourists affecting the environment that Cronon ultimately despises. Either way, I’m sure that a conversation these too on environmentalism would be interesting.

Comparing Whitman to the Others

Recently, we have been tasked with reading Whitman’s “Song of Myself” in conjunction with Thoreau’s “Walking” and Bello’s “Ode to Tropical Agriculture” in order to partially digest different ideas and partially to find comparisons between their writings. With that said, I would like to start with analyzing Whitman’s view of nature and civilization. I feel as though Whitman has similar thoughts on both of those subjects. He is able to appreciate humankind in a humanitarian way, treating everyone that comes into contact with him with open arms and fairness. This can especially be seen when he talks about taking and tending to a runaway slave as well as refusing to hold any ill will towards a town whore. These feelings and other emotions felt by him towards people can be summed up with this quote: “All the men ever born are also my brothers… and the women are sisters and lovers” (Whitman 4). Similarly to this, he is able to appreciate nature. While talking of ducks and birds that he startles as he walks through the wilderness, he states, “They rise together, they slowly circle around… I believe in those winged purposes” (Whitman 10). What’s even more interesting is that with this huge amount of amazement, he still feels as though nature is an enigma.

Whitman finds through his own introspection that we, as humans, cannot ever come to understand the wild. For instance, when questioned about the purpose and existence of grass by a child, Whitman thinks, “I do not know what it is any more than he” (Whitman 5), yet he still is able to hold an appreciation for nature. This is where he differs from Bello who states that people don’t appreciate the wilderness nearly as much as its animal dwellers do. He also makes the point of how big business want to exploit nature, yet he believes that the cultivation of farmland is necessary for growth.

Despite these minor initial comparisons, all authors tend to believe in one principle: We come to understand the environment better by interacting with it. Whether it’s through taking a walk, cultivation, or just appreciation, we begin to form our own feelings and meanings on what the environment means to us by experiencing it. However, another interesting point is that these three authors get this point across in their writings in completely different ways. Whitman mainly preaches it through simple observation. He believes that by making initial opinions and delving into your curiosity, you can step out into the world easier. An example of this would be when he observes a Native American wedding and talks about the different traditions that he witnessed. Similarly, Thoreau believes that observations of nature provide insights into one’s soul. This is shown when he talks about how walking helps people to discover their inner self, going so far as to state, “They [villagers] are wayworn by the travel that goes by and over them, without traveling themselves” (Thoreau 8). Lastly is Bello. He does not necessarily mention having direct experiences, but more about yearning for new experiences. He discourages people from living easy lives shrouded in ignorance about the environment and encourages them to seek out the life of a farmer, since part of that lifestyle would help most people to better themselves by being able to walk in someone else’s shoes. I think the main thing that we should keep in mind when discussing and comparing these readings is that there are many lessons to learn and digest about environmentalism and that it’s always best to keep an open mind.

Cronon-Thoreau Dichotomy?

Sure enough, Cronon and Thoreau mention many similar topics in both “The Trouble With Wilderness” and “Walking” respectively. Both mention many topics on wilderness and even happen to hold similar opinions. The western frontier is a very prevalent example of this. Both authors mention how people are in love with the idea of the frontier because it promotes such rugged character and individualism among people. In “Walking,” this is even further elaborated on by Thoreau saying that he himself would probably not find “fair landscapes or sufficient wildness and freedom” (11) within the east. Both authors also mention at least a brief history of the wilderness: Although people initially feared the wild, they eventually settled and began construction, changing wilderness for the worst. Both writers go on to state their opinions of the wilderness, which are also surprisingly similar.

Cronon believes that there is nature everywhere. He even believes that humans are also a part of nature; thus, they should be taking care of the environment more and realizing that facets of their everyday lives happen to encompass the wild. Thoreau also believes that humans are a small part of wilderness, but more in a sense where the farmers working the land tend to be “scarcely more obvious” (Thoreau 7) than the animals burrowing in the ground. This is where I believe that both authors’ beliefs overlap. Besides that, there seems to be a slight dichotomy between both opinions of nature. In contrast to Cronon’s belief, Thoreau believes that nature is more of a spiritual experience. He claims that the wilderness is more enjoyable and open when in its prime state: raw, free, and unclaimed. He also seems to believe that it takes a hyper-aware person to have this revelation as well as to enjoy walking through nature. Personally, I think that this comes off as a very pretentious belief. This is possibly the very reason that Cronon refers to Thoreau’s “stern loneliness”. I believe that everyone should be able to enjoy the wilderness in their own rite. With these differing opinions that we’ve been exposed to in this class thus far, I have the feeling that nature is truly what you make it out to be; therefore, anyone can enjoy just as much as Cronon and Thoreau.

Kayaking in the Rappahannock

This past weekend, my professor, seminar peers, and I took a field trip to the Rappahannock River.  Not only was it a great bonding experience for the whole class, but we also got to see the both sides of nature that are portrayed in Cronon’s writing that we analyzed this past week. On our way down stream, the water was calm and the clouds were white. It was a very peaceful journey. We then stopped a small bank to park our boats and go swimming. Shortly after getting in the water, it began to harshly storm. Thunder was heard as the intense raindrops shook the branches of the treeline that we congregated under for shelter. Lightning could be seen in the distance. After about twenty minutes of us standing in the ever-sinking mud, the storm seemed to be letting up. We took this opportunity to paddle back upstream to where we began our adventure at. This was definitely the right choice because the weather almost instantly cleared up. It became beautiful again, just how it was when we had started rowing. A heron even flew by us, adding to the awesome experience. It wasn’t long until we finally arrived back to our shore and began heading back to campus. One doesn’t get many chances to see both mystifying sides of nature in one day. As someone who doesn’t go into nature often, I am grateful to have had this opportunity.