its almost dark at 430 in the afternoon. that is depressing. my skin is starting to look like a crisp piece of notebook paper, pale as a ghost. not to mention that the cold is creeping further and further into my bones with each passing day. Like all good things, that pleasant, relaxing warm weather has left us for the time being, and it harsh cousin, the cold, has taken over the day to day operations. I’ve learning that you don’t mess with the cold. He can be very nasty, and has a unpleasant habit of calling on chilling winds and cold rain. The cold also strips the trees bare, and eliminates many of the signs of life that put smiles on our faces. This time of year takes its toll on me. It makes everything less exciting, and there is very little incentive to go outside and do some sort of activity. It makes me sad sometimes. If there is one thing that I take away from this time of year, it is the fact that there is no place to go now except up. In a little over a month, we will have reached the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. After that, little by little, the days will get longer, and I will get a little happier. Also, the best part of winter, the snow, usually treats us to a fantastic display in January and February. Once I get to there, it is clear sailing towards spring. I just have to persevere for now, and most importantly keep my extremedies warm
The last two weeks have been…off.
The weather’s changed drastically now, and it hurts my hands at night when I don’t have warm pockets or gloves. I’ve been delinquent on Crum walks because of the cold, and on taking pictures because the shutter in my camera failed. Although I have a camera out from SCCS on loan, I haven’t been using it much. It doesn’t feel like mine–it isn’t mine–and using the unfamiliar machine makes me feel awkward. (Not to sound like a weirdo or anything, but using this SCCS camera kind of feels like going on a date with someone when your heart’s just not in it, because you’re not quite over your last break-up yet.)
I’ve been noticing the colors on the trees fading away every couple of days, but they’ve stayed on for much longer than they have in previous years. I was surprised to see a few blossoms still looking quite brilliant in the rose garden today. There are fewer and fewer squirrels running around now, and the one who are still fumbling out in the cold look like they’re ready for some hibernation time, or just hideaway-from-the-cold time.
(I wish I could hibernate with them. My body certainly feels like it needs to sink into a bed for a month.)
But maybe the most beautiful thing about this season is how, since the sun sets so early in the day now, I see these fantastic skies every evening–purple blues, reddish pink, orange and bronze, yellow clouds catching on fire. I think I should get a picture of that soon.
As for my reflection-in-retrospect…I look back on my digital stories and am satisfied with and somewhat saddened by their open-endedness, their lack of conclusions, their searching for—, their waiting for—. I’m interested in and troubled by their quiet urgency; the sense that there is a patience quickly running out of time; the sense that there is a question seeking an answer–one that obviously exists but does not want to show itself. I think the use of soundtrack makes this waiting less haunting, less isolated, because it gives my voice a support. But I think the vulnerability that comes from this un-knowing is best conveyed without a soundtrack. So in a way, I like my first piece the most, because it was the most immediate, and the most personal. As a future goal, I hope that I will learn more about the techniques in Final Cut so that I can manipulate the images more effectively to let the picture speak as a story on its own.
November 23, 2010 1 pm clear, 57 degrees F
I am sitting in the crum near the field house on this day before break begins, feeling increasingly excited to go home. I have been trying to expand my photo selection, searching for things out of the ordinary to capture. It seems that when I am actually LOOKING for something interesting, it never comes by. That always seems the case. However, when I don’t have my camera, all things interesting come out, taunting me.
What is interesting? What makes things photo-worthy? I don’t know if I can answer that exactly. Things that I don’t normally see? So am I what makes things interesting? Does the fact that I don’t normally find these things make them interesting? I don’t know if I am even making sense…
I am excited to go home for a bit of a break… I live on the top of a hill, and a huge field welcomes you into my neighborhood. I always used to ride my dirt bike over the hills, gliding in the air for a few seconds, thinking I was so badass… I would rip around the field, flinging dead grass into the air. The thrill of the wind in my face was incredible. But now the field is full of corn. What would it be like to ride through there? How many creatures and homes would I happen upon? I bet there would be plenty of great photo ops in there.
The weather is starting to get colder, even though it is nice today. I can feel the winter approaching. At night, I can’t believe how cold I am walking back to my dorm, seeing the puff of translucent white air rise to the dark sky. I am going to need to break out my winter jacket. Even the coats of dogs and squirrels are getting thicker. I often feel sorry for the birds and other animals that have to endure the cold. What do they feel? They cannot escape it unless they find a warm place to hide. But nothing could be as warm as our heated houses and fireplaces.
i was very intrigued by Tomashow’s writings on what he calls place-based perceptual ecology. i agree with him in the sense that fully immersing yourself in what you are learning about can add so much to the experience. the concept of learing about nature wile you are walking through the woods, for instance, gives you a much deeper connection to what you are learning about. it provides something tangible, so you can instantly see that what you are learning isn’t just some words on a piece of paper in a book published by some people. i also think that Tomashow is right when he observes that placed-based ecology can allow people to become more aware of the different specimens that make up the environment. if you are studying a certain plant for instance, you can easily see how other things in the environment interact with that plant, for example, what kind of bugs it attracts. it really can heighten you understanding of what exactly can go on in the woods. i very much enjoy reading in the woods. the atmosphere that is created with the winds blowing through the trees, and the birds chirping intermittently, is much more relaxing than the cramped feeling of reading in your room. it puts my mind at ease, allowing me to become completely engrossed in the literature. i wish i could read in the woods at this time of year. but i guess i’d rather be warm than freeze my toes off.